Earlier today, Rogers Communications announced it would be acquiring Shaw Communications for $26 billion, a deal that has yet to be approved by regulators.
While Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said the federal government stressed “affordability, competition and innovation in Canadian telecommunications” is important, we are also hearing from consumer advocacy groups and others reacting to the news.
Vancouver-based OpenMedia said Canadians “cannot afford” the Rogers-Shaw deal, citing higher cell phone prices will be the “inevitable conclusion”, should Shaw be eliminated.
“This deal cannot be approved. Canadians already suffer from sky-high Internet prices. We need more competition in Canada – not less. Over the years, we’ve seen competitor after competitor swallowed up by the Big 3,” said OpenMedia Executive Director Laura Tribe on Monday morning.
Tribe and OpenMedia are behind a national Affordable Internet Day of Action, an online event set for March 16, aimed at advocating for lower internet prices.
Others similarly reacted to the news on social media:
If the merger between @Rogers and @ShawInfo is approved by regulators, it would be a HUGE reversal of both the Liberal and the previous Conservative government's policies on wireless competition. The Harper government's approach was to push for four wireless players in Canada.
— Anja Karadeglija (@AnjaKaradeglija) March 15, 2021
Conservative statement on Rogers proposed purchase of Shaw. pic.twitter.com/Tyn3jknW2u
— pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) March 15, 2021
“Wireless competition gets stronger today” https://t.co/icFf1vGbx2
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) March 15, 2021
The more interesting thing about the Rogers-Shaw merger is whether it makes Bell and Telus bold enough to again try a merger of their own.
— Peter Nowak (@peternowak) March 15, 2021
“The result is always the same – more profits for the Big 3, worse plans and less choice for Canadians. We can’t afford this deal. This is going to be a true test of Minister Champagne’s commitment to affordability, connectivity, and Canadians,” added Tribe.
The deal would see Shaw, which currently has its wireless subsidiaries Freedom Mobile and Shaw Mobile in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario, become part of Rogers. According to Rogers, price increases would hold off for Freedom Mobile customers for three years. Meanwhile, Rogers would open up new regional headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, while also introduce 3,000 net new jobs.