ROGERS Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. on Monday announced a merger in which Toronto-based Rogers has agreed to pay $26 billion to acquire Calgary-based Shaw including debt. Shaw’s Freedom Mobile competes with Rogers for cellphone subscribers in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
The deal had federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh demand that the Liberal government act “to enforce price caps and promote real competition instead of protecting the profits of telecoms giants.”
In a statement, Singh said: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have felt how important it is to stay connected online and by phone during times where they couldn’t be together in person. People depend on their cellphone and internet services for work, school, and to stay connected with family and loved ones – but prices are skyrocketing, and families are facing bills in the hundreds every month.
“Big telecom companies are gouging Canadians and continuing to make massive profits in a time where most families are struggling to get by. A merger between two of Canada’s biggest providers will just make it worse.”
Singh noted: “For generations these telecoms giants have essentially had no competition. They make huge profits, and Liberal and Conservative governments let them.
“Canadians pay some of the highest rates in the world for cellphone and internet service – and Canada’s telecoms giants put profits ahead of offering quality services that people need in their daily lives.
“[Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau’s “ask nicely” strategy when it comes to fighting for fairness for Canadians has been a total failure, and this buy out will only help big telecom companies profit more on the backs of Canadians.”
Singh added: “New Democrats will continue to fight to lower cell and internet costs – so Canadians can get better access at better prices and have a more affordable life.”
CONSERVATIVE Critic for Jobs and Industry, Pierre Poilievre, in a statement said: “Conservatives are focused on ensuring competition, affordability, and jobs in Canada’s telecommunications sector.
“The proposed plan by Rogers to purchase Shaw is a large transaction with a number of considerations that must be studied. Conservatives will be reviewing this deal to ensure it helps create competition, affordability for Canadians, and jobs.
“We are pleased to see the Competition Bureau is reviewing this proposed deal and look forward to its findings.
“Canadians pay some of the highest cell phone and internet rates in the world. Conservatives will continue to stand up for Canadian consumers and ensure their interests are put first.”