TekSavvy Slams Minister for Approving ‘Anti-Competitive’ Rogers-Shaw Merger

TekSavvy expressed its disappointment in the decision of Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne to approve the Rogers-Shaw merger and related sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Vidéotron.

The company claims that the decision disregards unlawful Rogers-Vidéotron agreements and the ongoing investigation by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) into anticompetitive wholesale agreements.

TekSavvy has challenged the agreements after Rogers agreed to grant Vidéotron access to its broadband network at rates lower than the CRTC’s regulated rates.

“The Minister approved this anticompetitive merger despite the CRTC’s ongoing investigation,” said Peter Nowak, TekSavvy’s Vice-President of Insight and Engagement. “In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, this decision further consolidates Canada’s telecom market and guarantees even higher prices for consumers.”

TekSavvy has long been advocating that federal approval for the merger must be based on enacting the CRTC’s 2019 decision to lower regulated wholesale rates. However, the minister declined to implement the CRTC decision last May, and instead supported higher rates as requested by Rogers, Shaw, Vidéotron, and others, it says.

This merger is only the latest in the telecom sector’s rapid “ongoing collapse of competition,” says Teksavvy, citing Bell’s acquisition of Ebox, Distributel and Primus, Vidéotron’s purchase of V-Media, Telus’s acquisition of Start.ca and Altima, and Cogeco’s acquisition of Oxio, among others.

TekSavvy says it hopes that the CRTC’s investigation will result in meaningful action that will stop “further dismantling of competition in the telecom market.”