Rogers-Shaw Merger Will be a ‘Massacre,’ Says Freedom Mobile Founder

Rogers’ recently-approved $26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications will be a “massacre” for jobs, Globalive CEO and Freedom Mobile founder Anthony Lacavera said earlier this week.

Appearing on BNN Bloomberg, Lacavera said that the approval of the Rogers-Shaw transaction brings nothing but bad news for Canadians. “We are going to see prices sequentially go up,” he said, adding that investment and innovation will go down and customer service and experience will also degrade as a direct result of the merger.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced his approval of the Rogers-Shaw merger on Friday, dissolving the last hurdle that was keeping the deal from going through.

Minister Champagne touted that Ottawa is “imposing strict conditions” on the deal, but Lacavera doesn’t have much faith in the government’s ability to enforce them.

“Undertakings have never worked,” said Lacavera, who founded Freedom Mobile as WIND Mobile in 2009. As part of the Rogers-Shaw transaction, which has been roughly two years in the making, Shaw-owned Freedom will be sold to Quebecor’s Vidéotron.

During his interview, Lacavera stressed the importance of having an “independent” fourth wireless carrier in Canada, one that’s a pure-play wireless operator, to drive down prices and enrich consumer choice. Lacavera said that his company could once again have been this fourth player if he hadn’t been shut out of negotiations to acquire Freedom from Rogers-Shaw.

Check out Lacavera’s interview in the video below:

YouTube video

In a separate video shared on Twitter, Lacavera said that the Rogers-Shaw merger is “very bad for choice and competition,”

“We now have a bigger Rogers that has consolidated the market further. We have more market power in fewer hands — that will naturally lead to higher prices, less innovation, and worse customer service.”

The Globalive CEO held the Trudeau government squarely responsible for what he called a “disaster for Canadians.”

“Well-established fundamental economic principles have been ignored by the Liberal government in approving this transaction,” Lacavera wrote in his tweet.

Lacavera is far from alone in his disappointment over the feds’ approval of the Rogers-Shaw deal. The decision has left independent telecommunications operators like TekSavvy, consumer interest groups like OpenMedia, and even government officials scathed.