Former Wind Mobile founder, Anthony Lacavera, says he was “disappointed” to hear about the Rogers-Shaw merger this week.
Shaw acquired Wind Mobile in late 2015 and turned it into Freedom Mobile, part of a $1.6 billion deal.
Speaking to Postmedia from his home in Toronto, Lacavera said, “The oligopolies are so strong in Canada,” adding, “I was disappointed. It’s just so unfortunate that the country I love is dominated by these oligopolies and does not have a competitive market.”
Lacavera said the Rogers acquisition of Shaw will result in increased prices and weaker customer service. “I think that prices most definitely are going to go up,” he said, noting the wireless picture would turn back to a consolidated picture before Wind Mobile entered the picture.
He also took issue with the fact Rogers mentioned in its press release it would not raise Freedom Mobile prices for at least three years.
“I think it’s very telling (that) right in their press release, they felt the need to say that,” Lacavera said to Postmedia. “I think in a normal competitive market, you would never have to say something like that, because of course, if there’s a competitive market, prices are not going to go up.”
While Lacavera noted his disappointment from the news, he also shared some positive takeaways, specifically mentioning the deal would benefit the advancement of 5G networks and make Canada competitive on the world stage. Canadians will most likely need to pay higher prices to access 5G.
He also praised the Big 3 for their business practices, when it comes to the wireless industry. “The decisions that they make, to limit competition, to stifle innovation, to keep prices high and keep competitors out, those are smart business decisions,” he said, referring to Rogers, Telus and Bell.
Ultimately, regulators are to blame, says Lacavera, for failing to enforce spectrum allocation policy back in 2007, related to governing disputes and cell tower sharing.
“Let’s figure out how to create a policy framework that encourages competition but resolves some of the shortcomings of the old policy,” stressed Lacavera. “At the same time, let’s create a mechanism for enforcement. That is the most important thing. Just enforce the policy,” he added.