|Ottawa consumer lawyers say Rogers deal for |
Shaw's wireless spectrum will reduce competition.
Rogers Communications Inc. (TSE:RCI:B) from acquiring spectrum from Shaw Communications Inc. (TSE:SJR.B), calling the companies’ recently proposed deal “contrary to the original AWS auction rules of the set-aside” and contrary to “your Ministry’s clear policy to preserve that spectrum for new wireless entrants.”
The groups signing the January 21 letter were the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC), OpenMedia.ca, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) and the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO).
“Consumers were just starting to benefit from having a fourth or fifth wireless provider and some real choice in the cellphone market,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC. “This proposed deal is the first step back to only three big providers: Rogers, Telus and Bell.”
The groups noted in their letter that spectrum is a public resource and that the federal government had gone to great lengths in the 2009 AWS auction to ensure that the spectrum would be used to launch new wireless services, competing with the big three.
“Canadians were promised that this spectrum would be used to increase choice and lower wireless prices,” noted Steve Anderson, Executive Director at OpenMedia.ca. “The big three are clearly trying to squeeze out other wireless service providers,” he added.
Lawford added: “The Minister should take clear and immediate action to preserve wireless consumers’ confidence in this government’s dedication to fixing the cellphone market. We hope he will do the right thing by consumers.”
The full text of the letter to The Hon. Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry, Re: Shaw-Rogers Option to Acquire Set-Aside AWS Spectrum is on PIAC's web site at: