Quebecor president and CEO, Pierre Karl Peladeau, testified to Members of Parliament at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on Wednesday, in regards to the Rogers-Shaw merger.
According to Peladeau, he said “Videotron is proof positive that the policy to promote a fourth player in the wireless market works,” touting how “Quebecers now pay the lowest wireless rates in Canada, up to 35-40% less than elsewhere in the country.”
In Quebec, wireless plans from incumbents Rogers, Telus and Bell typically are lower than other parts of the country, due to price competition from Quebecor subsidiary, Videotron.
According to the Quebecor CEO, he says if the Rogers deal to buy Shaw is approved, “it will spell the demise of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile subsidiary as a fourth independent wireless competitor in Ontario, AB and BC,” plus “sound the death knell of the policy to promote true competition.”
Peladeau says if the Rogers-Shaw merger is indeed approved, one condition that must be implemented would be the “divestiture of Freedom Mobile’s assets.”
“The divestiture must also be accompanied by the requisite conditions for effective operation of a wireless network, including spectrum, roaming agreements, tower sharing, and a fair agreement for the use of the wireless backhaul network,” added Peladeau.
The Quebecor CEO’s full speech in French can be read at this link, shared by a company spokesperson.
OpenMedia Also Argues Against Rogers-Shaw Merger
On Wednesday, non-profit and consumer advocate, OpenMedia, also spoke to the committee. The organization’s executive director, Laura Tribe said “you must oppose the sale of Shaw to Rogers,” adding, “Big Telecom is already too big. Canadians already have too few choices. We simply can’t afford a massive step backwards.”
Tribe echoed similar sentiments in an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star. “You don’t need to be an economist to understand that less competition will result in higher prices. The mere presence of Freedom Mobile in B.C., Alberta and Ontario has created downward pressure on wireless prices in these regions, benefiting the customers of every single cellphone provider,” said Tribe.
On Wednesday, TekSavvy spoke at the committee to MPs and argued the Rogers-Shaw deal could harm competition. Earlier this week, Rogers and Shaw executives testified at the committee, arguing the joining of both companies would result in greater competition, instead of reducing it.