Rogers-Shaw Deal Gives Canadians Control Over Prices for First Time, Touts Minister 

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, touted the benefits of the Rogers-Shaw deal for Canadians on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday, saying with a straight face the deal will bring total control by Canadians and also reduce wireless prices in the country, opposite of what critics have suggested.

The Rogers-Shaw merger was approved by Champagne last Friday, but with a series of conditions tied to the deal that included reduced prices, 5G network expansions, job creation and more for all parties involved, including Quebecor, which acquired Freedom Mobile from Shaw.

“For the first time, I think in Canadian telecom history is that now you have a contract with Canadians, these companies are liable to Canadians with 21 conditions [and] huge penalties,” said Champagne, referring to the up $200 million fine and $1 billion fine for Rogers if conditions are breached. How far will the government go to force telecoms to pay up in they’re not agreeing to parts of the deal?

“All of that was driven with one objective and one objective alone, to bring down prices in Canada,” touted the minister. “What we have seen, [the] evidence is there, prices in Quebec are 20 per cent lower than in the rest of Canada.” Freedom Mobile customers in western Canada will soon be given the chance to switch over to Rogers, which will maintain the same pricing for at least five years.

“In Canada, in our context, you need a strong fourth national player. So these conditions, which you find in these agreements which we made public is to drive that,” added Champagne. “If I do not see prices moving downward, everything is on the table,” said the minister’s tough words.

As for Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau, to told BNN Bloomberg, “We’re certainly going to be very aggressive, taking place and providing innovative products, better pricing, customer service and what is necessary to gain market share.” One condition will see Freedom Mobile customers get a free 10% data bonus coming soon.

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri told the publication the deal took longer than anticipated and now combining both companies will result in the need to slash about $1 billion in costs. It’s unclear if this will include job cuts or not.