Four May Become Three: Two Telecoms Discuss Merger With Parliament

Originally Published by Inside Towers

Two Canadian telecom companies, Rogers and Shaw Communications, testified in a virtual hearing in front of the Industry, Science and Technology Committee on March 29. Executives from each company discussed the merger of the two entities, claiming it will “increase competition and improve networks,” reported MobileSyrupHowever, critics believe a merger will lead to less competition, eliminating a fourth player in the Canadian telecom market.

Rogers CEO Joe Natale told parliament members that the proposed acquisition would advance 5G, creating a nationwide internet provider. He added that it would also create jobs, diversify the Canadian economy, and enable the companies to compete with Canadian telecom Telus.

“Together, we can go further and faster. This is an opportunity to take the breadth and depth of Shaw’s fiber network in the west, combine it with our wireless capability, and bring that together to create the best of both worlds,” Natale stated.

Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw agreed that a merger would allow the companies to compete more effectively than if they remained separate entities. “We can’t look backwards at what might have worked in the past. As we look forward, it is clear that Shaw cannot build what Canada needs on our own” due to the billions of dollars required, he said.

When confronted about competitive pricing for customers, both Shaw’s CEO and President, Paul McAleese, believe “a dynamic competitive environment reduces prices.” McAleese stated that although Shaw had some influence on the Big Three (Rogers, Bell, and Telus), all companies have already taken the initiative to reduce overage fees and offer data at lower prices on their own.

MobileSyrup reported that the proposed deal requires approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Competition Bureau, and the federal department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. All three governmental departments are focused on offering residents “greater affordability, competition, and innovation” and must determine if the merger will meet these goals. According to Rogers, the companies expect an answer by early 2022.

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