In a letter to clients, Scotiabank’s telecommunications analyst Jeff Fan predicted that Apple’s forthcoming iPhone line would support the carrier’s Band 66 LTE network, thus significantly bolstering its base of potential customers.
“On September 12, Apple is expected to introduce a trio of new iPhones that will support Freedom’s LTE network,” reads the report.
“We believe new iPhones that are compatible with Freedom’s LTE network, combined with the deployment of 700MHz and 2,500MHz spectrum will dramatically expand the addressable market for Freedom from a device perspective.”
Freedom recently purchased the spectrum licenses from Quebecor’s regional Quebec carrier Videotron, and is widely expected to use it for non-Band 66 LTE, which would make their 4G network far more compatible with a variety of phones, particularly older devices.
CEO Brad Shaw of Freedom’s parent company Shaw Communications stated at the time: “it’s an important incremental step in our evolution as an enhanced connectivity provider.”
“On September 12, Apple is expected to introduce a trio of new iPhones that will support Freedom’s LTE network.”
In the report, Fan says 700MHz would play a huge role in attracting the market of users with unlocked, paid-off devices, otherwise known as the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market.
While Fan is expecting the iPhone to be Band 66-compatible, he says his institution’s focus is on whether Freedom will have an agreement in place with Apple to sell iPhones.
It’s worth it to note here that Freedom’s relationship with Apple has been tenuous at times in the past, for example when Apple requested third-party distributor Ingram Micro stop providing Freedom (then Wind) with refurbished iPhones in 2015.
Fan also states that it would be more beneficial if older iPhones were updated to include Band 66, since the new devices are likely to be priced at a premium too high for budget-conscious Freedom users — though there may be little incentive to make those updates on Apple’s part.
If multiple iPhones do become Band 66-compatible, however, and the network is improved with its newly purchased spectrum, Scotiabank has high hopes for Freedom gaining a significant amount of new customers.
“We estimate that the addition of multiple iPhones with Band 66 and the ability to cater to BYOD subscribers could expand Freedom’s addressable market by over 12 million (note there are approximately 30.7 million total wireless subscribers in Canada),” reads the report.