Canada’s mobile market is in for a shakeup, especially in Alberta and B.C. as Shaw Communications launches its new ‘Shaw Mobile’ business with an eye-popping $0 plan.
The company’s president, Paul McAleese, explained that Shaw was “happy to be the catalyst for change” during a press briefing ahead of the July 30th launch of Canada’s latest mobile player. And it looks like Shaw could be a significant catalyst with its introductory plans that massively undercut the competition.
Shaw Mobile will start with two plans: ‘By The Gig’ and ‘Unlimited Data.’ By The Gig plans cost $0 per month and include unlimited nationwide talk and text. Plus, customers can buy 1GB of data for $10 if they need it — that data rolls over for up to 90 days if they don’t use it all in one billing cycle.
As for the Unlimited Data plan, it costs $45 per month for 25GB of data, followed by unlimited usage at a throttled speed. There’s a $10 add-on for U.S. and Mexico roaming options as well.
Plans come with caller ID and voicemail and have a $20 activation fee.
Compared to what competitors are offering — about $35 for most unlimited talk and text plans and $85 for most 20GB unlimited plans — it seems too good to be true.
Understanding Shaw Mobile’s network
As with anything, there are a few caveats to be aware of. First, Shaw Mobile’s best prices are only for its internet customers. The regular rates are higher; $15 per month for the By The Gig plan — which is still quite good — and $85 for the Unlimited Data plan. One home account can add up to six $0 lines.
Shaw Mobile relies on the company’s rapidly expanding gigabit wireline internet. Mobile customers will use Shaw’s in-home Wi-Fi service, the company’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots and Shaw’s LTE network.
With this in mind, it isn’t a surprise that Shaw Mobile is only available in Alberta and B.C. for now. However, the plans are nationwide and will work in other provinces with Shaw Mobile’s roaming partners. It’s worth noting the Unlimited Data plan works similar to Freedom Mobile in that the 25GB allotment is available on Shaw’s network while customers outside of that (on ‘Shaw Nationwide’) have a 2GB limit.
In a sense, that means Shaw Mobile’s network isn’t a traditional mobile data network, although it does have one to fall back on. For example, a typical user would have access to text and calling over their Shaw internet service. If they leave home and go to a mall or library with Shaw’s ‘Go WiFi’ service, their phones will work on that. When there isn’t a Wi-Fi network available, Shaw Mobile phones can use the company’s LTE.
It’s a simple strategy and one that could prove effective. McAleese said Shaw had watched and learned from U.S.-based cable companies that launched similar networks. However, according to McAleese, a key difference is that Shaw is a facilities-based provider and actually has a mobile network. Many of the U.S. companies had to rely on wholesale mobile network, which made things less economical.
McAleese also spoke about Shaw’s Fibre+ internet, which has seen significant growth recently. Shaw says its Fibre+ Gig network, which offers speeds of up to 1Gbps, is now connected to over 1 million more homes than its next closest competitor.
As for Freedom Mobile, it appears the regional carrier will continue as is. McAleese explained that the company views the two as complementary.
The little details
For those wondering why Shaw decided to launch its new mobile service in the middle of a pandemic, McAleese said this was the best time.
On the one hand, COVID-19 hit Western Canada hard. McAleese said that hundreds of thousands are recently unemployed, and there’s a lot of financial stress. From that perspective, offering high-value plans like the ones in Shaw Mobile makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, the Canadian government just released its first report on the progress — or lack thereof — in its goals to reduce cellphone costs by 25 percent in Canada. Shaw Mobile meets and surpasses the government’s goal in terms of the monthly cost.
McAleese also noted that the plan pricing available at launch would be “introductory.” He didn’t say how long it would be available but indicated it wasn’t permanent and could change down the line.
However, McAleese expects the majority of its customers to bring their own devices. Like other carriers, Shaw Mobile requires a SIM card and will support eSIM devices too. For now, McAleese says new customers will have to visit a Shaw retail location to make sure their phones get set up correctly for the network.
That includes 19 Shaw retail stores across B.C. and Alberta with 12 new stores opening in the coming weeks and over 120 locations with Shaw’s national retail partners, including Walmart and The Mobile Shop.
A new store and fresh new brand
Speaking of stores, McAleese took press on a virtual tour of the new Shaw store at Calgary’s Market Mall. Shaw’s stores still have a focus on TV — McAleese describes it as the “heartbeat” of what Shaw does — but also has space for internet and mobile products.
Shaw says it designed the new spaces for exploration, learning and interactivity but also kept physical distancing in mind. The company says it will continue to adhere to health and safety protocols.
Additionally, Shaw is refreshing its brand with more life and activity. That includes a new ‘Brighter Together’ call to action and new ads highlighting the company’s new services.
All in all, Shaw Mobile should prove to be an exciting new choice for customers in Western Canada. Although limited in some ways, the value of the plans is clear. Existing Shaw customers will likely find it an appealing offer and, hopefully, it spurs greater competition in Canada’s mobile market.
You can learn more about Shaw Mobile on the company’s website.
Update 07/30/2020 at 7:55am: Clarified that Shaw Mobile plans would be available for non-Shaw internet customers at higher ‘market rates.’
Images credit: Shaw Communications
COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Aug. 1, 2021 – CTV Edmonton
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now available at all Ottawa vaccination clinics
- Ottawa sees single-digit COVID-19 case numbers on Saturday
- Gee-Gees student-athletes must receive COVID-19 vaccine to compete on teams this season, uOttawa says
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):
- New COVID-19 cases: Four new cases on Saturday
- Total COVID-19 cases: 27,815
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 4.0
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 0.5 per cent (seven day average)
- Reproduction Number: 1.12 (seven day average)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:
- You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
- You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
- You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
- You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
- You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
- You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
- You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort travelling out of country for medical treatment;
- You are a farm worker;
- You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
- You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home.
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx
- The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
- Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for summer camp children and staff. All campers and staff must complete the COVID-19 School and Childcare screening tool daily.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion
Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup
The city of Ottawa says it has an “ample supply” of both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines available if you want to get your COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.
Residents 12 and older are invited to walk-in to Ottawa’s four vaccination clinics to receive a first dose or a second dose of the vaccine.
“Certainly, we’ve done really, really well,” said Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services.
“We’re seeing a slowing down, that’s why we’re shutting down some of our clinics but we’re leaving four open and anybody who hasn’t had a first dose or wants a second dose can just walk in without an appointment. We have both Moderna and Pfizer available, so I’d encourage anybody please come and get vaccinated.”
Ottawa is currently operating four community clinics. You can drop in between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to get a vaccine at the following locations:
- Eva James Community Centre
- Nepean Sportsplex
- Orleans YMCA
- Ottawa City Hall
Ottawa Public Health reported four new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, one day after the capital saw a double-digit case increase for the first time in three weeks.
No new deaths were reported.
Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa in March 2020, there have been 27,815 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 593 deaths.
In Ottawa, the five new cases comes one day after Ottawa saw double-digit single day COVID-19 case numbers for the first time since July 4. There were 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and eight new cases on Thursday.
University of Ottawa student-athletes must provide proof they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today to be eligible for the upcoming season..
The university has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all Gee-Gees varsity sports for the 2021-22 season.
According to the vaccination policy on the Gee-Gees website, student-athletes are required to have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 1, 2021. Vaccination verification information will be required to be submitted as part of the annual medical pre-participation form that is submitted by a student-athlete.
All Gee-Gees student-athletes must receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.
'It's nice to see everyone's faces again': N.B. no longer under mandatory order, despite concerns from experts – CTV News Atlantic
The Boyce Farmer’s Market, a Fredericton favourite, was a busy spot Saturday morning hours after New Brunswick’s mandatory order was lifted, and with it, all of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Capacity limits no longer apply, and neither do mandatory masks. Many were embracing it.
“This is our happy place. We usually come all the time, and for the longest time it was just a weird, uncomfortable vibe,” said Tyler Wood.
“It’s just amazing to see everyone coming out, seeing the big crowds and seeing people hugging and smiling and just really enjoy the day. It’s just amazing to be back and feel normal.”
The end of the mandatory order also means anyone can visit the province, including Canadians who are unvaccinated. The border checks at the Quebec-New Brunswick border are no longer staffed by the department of public safety.
People can also choose to wear a mask.
Brian MacDonald decided to continue wearing one on his market visit “just to err on the side of caution.”
“I kind of have mixed feelings about New Brunswick opening up to the extent that it is with the Delta variant,” he said. “I hope that the masklessness isn’t a disaster.”
Experts are also expressing their concerns with the decision, warning that it will lead to an increase in cases.
“It does seem to be a little quick,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist in Halifax.
“It is a bit of an experiment, not as much as Alberta, but a bit of an experiment that didn’t need to happen as quickly as it has. Do I anticipate a massive number of hospitalizations all of a sudden? No, but are there going to be some people who get sick and maybe very sick, who didn’t need to? That’s almost a certainty over the next number of weeks. I’m not certain that that’s okay at this point.”
But Premier Blaine Higgs says he’s confident and comfortable with the decision, even though the province hasn’t reached its 75 per cent vaccination target yet.
Higgs also said his government has made the vaccines very accessible, with mobile and after-hours clinics across the province.
“There are those that have no real reason to be unvaccinated and have chosen not to be, and yes, they’re at risk,” he said.
“They will continue to be at risk, so their fate is in their hands in that sense because the opportunity is there. There’s nothing more I can do. We don’t have a mandatory vaccination policy and I don’t see that coming anytime soon.”
Higgs said he’ll be using his own discretion on wearing a mask.
The end of the mandatory order also effectively stops the need for the all-party COVID-19 cabinet committee.
Since last March, the group saw New Brunswick’s four political parties sit at the same table, making pandemic-related decisions together.
Higgs said meetings could be scheduled if necessary in the future, but for now, no further meetings are planned.
Infectious disease expert calls N.B. plan to lift restrictions 'risky' – HalifaxToday.ca
As of midnight, COVID-19 restrictions will lift in New Brunswick, eliminating mask mandates, provincial border controls and gathering limits in that province.
However, a local infectious disease expert believes the move is coming too soon.
“Clearly we don’t have a lot of cases in the Atlantic right now, but we haven’t quite hit our vaccination targets yet,” said Dalhousie University’s Dr. Lisa Barrett.
“I don’t expect catastrophe, but do I think it’s necessary to get rid of all masks in all places all the time, and to open up with other measures at the same time? It’s probably a little more risky than I was expecting.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had said pandemic restrictions would only lift when 75 per cent of the province’s eligible population had received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, however as of Friday, only 66.7 per cent of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
Barrett says mask requirements are a cheap and easy way to reduce transmission of the virus, and she doesn’t see the advantage of getting rid of them at this stage.
“This really isn’t just a common cold, there are a lot of people who have, even after a mild infection with COVID, some long term side effects,” she told NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Todd Veinotte.
Although Barrett isn’t necessarily expecting cases to surge out of control in our neighbouring province, she said removing restrictions could result in people unnecessarily contracting COVID-19, especially as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads throughout the country.
“We’re not at vaccine targets, vaccines aren’t perfect and we don’t know exactly what the virus does,” she explained. “I just think it’s a little fast, and don’t forget, these experiments, when they go wrong, they’re not cases, they’re people.”
“That means somebody else that’s out there is going to have potentially longer term effects from this or get severely ill,” Barrett added. “So if we have easy things that we can keep doing that still allow us to socialize, and still allow us to go out and still allow the economy to open, why would we get rid of them right away? I don’t understand that part.”
Nova Scotia tracks its vaccination rate differently than New Brunswick. While our neighbours calculate how much of their eligible population has received the shots, we keep count of how many in our overall population have been immunized. COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for those under the age of 12.
As of July 30, 76 per cent of Nova Scotians have had one or more doses, while 62.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Our province’s chief medical officer of health has said more restrictions will be lifted here once 75 per cent of our entire population has had both doses of vaccine.
In Nova Scotia, there have been 4,200 cases from March 15 to July 27, 2021. Of those:
- 28 (0.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated
- 235 (5.6 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 3,937 (93.7 per cent) were unvaccinated
There were 254 people hospitalized. Of those:
- 2 (0.8 per cent) were fully vaccinated
- 28 (11 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 224 (88.2 per cent) were unvaccinated
Twenty-seven people died. Of those:
- 1 (3.7 per cent) was fully vaccinated
- 3 (11.1 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 23 (85.2 per cent) were unvaccinated
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