Shaw Communications, Inc. (NYSE:SJR) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Jan 14, 2019 • 10:00 am ET


Shaw Communications, Inc. (NYSE:SJR) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Shaw Communications First Quarter Fiscal 2019 Conference Call and Webcast. Today's call will be hosted by Mr. Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode and the conference is being recorded. Following the presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

Before we begin, management would like me to remind listeners that comments made during today's call will include forward-looking information and there are risks that actual results could differ materially. Please refer to the Company's publicly filed documents for more details on assumptions and risks.

Mr. Shaw, I will now turn the call over to you.

Bradley Shaw

Thank you, operator. Good morning and happy new year to everyone. With me today are members of our senior management team, including Jay, Trevor and Paul.

This morning, we released our first quarter operating and financial results for fiscal 2019 and we are pleased with the performance of all our divisions. The results reflect the team's collective effort and commitment to stabilizing our wireline business and capitalizing on the growth opportunities within our wireless operations. As we discussed last quarter, our entire organization is focused on improving execution and delivering our F '19 operating plans while making appropriate strategic investments that will yield significant benefits for all of our stakeholders going forward. Our wireless division continues to thrive as we added over 86,000 postpaid customers in the quarter and delivered significant revenue and EBITDA growth.

The success we are achieving in postpaid customer growth is a direct result of our strategy to enhance the network experience and reposition Freedom Mobile as a strong and differentiated competitor in the Canadian wireless landscape. Our efforts and focus over the quarter were aligned with our strategy as we continue to move up market and add higher-value customers. Since our entry into wireless, we have invested capital and resources to improve both the reality and perception that Freedom's network was inferior. Today we disclosed postpaid churn results that, importantly, show what our customers think of their Freedom exercise -- Freedom experience -- sorry about that. Postpaid churn of 1.28% improved significantly by 36 basis points over the last year.

We have deployed spectrum, introduced innovative data centered plans, expanded our handset line-up with the latest and most popular devices and significantly added to our retail distribution. These investments are all supportive of an improved customer experience leading to better churn and average billing per user growth, which was up 12% in the quarter. In readiness for Black Friday and the critical holiday selling season, we launched our innovative Big Binge Bonus program in late October, which provided new Freedom customers up to an additional 100 gigs of data to use at their discretion. This strategy helped Freedom continue to attract high value postpaid customers.

Overall, our sales activity remained strong throughout the holidays. However, I would characterize that the overall wireless environment as being less active than a year ago. From a