Bolder action needed on Canadian telco competition say industry watchers

Bolder action needed on Canadian telco competition say industry watchers
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As the Competition Bureau seeks to block Rogers Communications Inc.’s takeover of Shaw Communications Inc., over concerns the $26-billion deal will reduce wireless competition, some industry watchers say even bolder action is needed to provide more options to Canadian consumers.

Thomas Ross, professor at the UBC Sauder School of Business, says Canada being a big and expensive country to run networks, combined with low population density, means there will always be limits to the telecom options.

He says there are, however, some measures the federal government can take to help spur competition in Canada’s telecom industry, like letting foreign wireless companies operate in Canada, whether it’s an international company taking over a regional player and growing it or building its own network from scratch.

Ross also says the feds could force Canada’s telecom giants to sell wholesale access to their networks at much more favourable prices to facilitate the growth of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), which buy network service from major carriers at a wholesale rate.

However, he notes that these strategies might be hard for the government to fully get on board with.

Chatham, Ont.-based independent phone and internet provider TekSavvy Solutions Inc. says that the federal government needs to go a step further and “clean up” the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, revamp the competition laws and allow for greater enforcement of these laws.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:SJR.B)

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