Rogers to CRTC: Shaw Deal Would Allow Us to Compete Better with Telus and Bell

Rogers filed a reply to its rivals Telus and Bell on late Thursday over concerns from the latter over the proposed acquisition of Shaw, submitting a filing to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, reports The Globe and Mail.

After Bell and Telus told the CRTC earlier in September to deny the Shaw deal over concerns of dominating the broadcasting distribution market, Rogers has responded.

According to Rogers, buying Shaw would allow it to better compete against not only Telus and Bell, but also streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

In its filing, Rogers argues its rivals are only concerned because they will be facing competition in the IPTV market, which Bell has dominated in terms of market cap, said Rogers.

“It is, therefore, ironic that Bell is opposing our application based on the size and scale of the combined company,” said the Rogers submission.

“Bell’s opposition to our application is an attempt to leverage the regulatory system to gain a competitive advantage,” said Rogers, also citing how Bell also tried to bid for Shaw, and if the latter was the victor, an even larger broadcasting distributor would have emerged.

“Rogers further notes that none of the unregulated digital streaming services are subject to any such safeguards, even though they present a much larger risk to the health and future viability of the Canadian broadcasting system. The merger of Rogers and Shaw will be instrumental in countering this risk by ensuring a Canadian-owned broadcasting system continues to flourish in the future,” the submission reads, as per The Globe and Mail.

The $26 billion deal would see Rogers acquire Shaw, including its broadcasting distribution businesses in Western Canada, consisting of satellite TV and cable networks. Rivals argue if approved Rogers and Shaw would grab 47% of the English broadcasting distribution market.

Beyond Telus and Bell, Cogeco Communications Inc. and the Canadian Communication Systems Alliance have filed interventions opposing the Rogers-Shaw deal.

Critics say the Rogers-Shaw deal would increase wireless prices and lower competition. However, earlier this year, Rogers and Shaw testified to Members of Parliament their merger would actually increase competition, not lower it.

The CRTC plans to hold a public hearing to discuss the matter on November 22, 2021.