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OTTAWA, March 15, 2021 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed serious concern with the announcement by Rogers Communications Inc. (“Rogers”) that it will acquire the business of Shaw Communications Inc. (“Shaw”).
The deal would cover cable TV, Internet and wireless assets. The result would mean fewer wireless competitors in many Canadian markets.
“Canadians will not benefit from having fewer wireless competitors; they will pay more,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC.
The deal could undo a series of government actions over the last 15 years to promote a fourth national wireless carrier to help bring down cellphone prices in Canada. While Rogers claims it will not raise prices for Shaw’s “Freedom Mobile” wireless customers for three years, the structural shift from four carriers in most Canadian cities to only three will risk reduced competition in the wider cellphone market, as competitive pressure is removed from Rogers, Bell Mobility and TELUS Mobility.
Rogers also promised expansion of rural, indigenous and low-income connectivity programs.
“No amount of short-term sugar will help this medicine go down,” added Lawford. “The real harm to consumers from this deal cannot be wished away by promises to do things these companies should be doing to help the country, anyways.”
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 447-8125 ext. 125
(613) 447-8125 (cell)