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Sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor not enough for competition: telecom watcher

Written by on June 20, 2022

TORONTO — Rogers Communications Inc.’s decision to sell wireless carrier Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc.-owned Videotron Ltd. will just create a “weaker” competitor in the market, one telecom watcher says.

Carleton University professor Dwayne Winseck says it won’t be easy for Quebec-based Videotron to expand nationally, making it less of a challenger for Rogers.

Winseck says Videotron has had national ambitions for a while, but it lacks brand recognition and hasn’t been able to strike strong deals with other national carriers despite having fairly deep pockets.

Over the weekend, Rogers said it would sell Freedom to Quebecor for $2.85 billion, as it looks to get its $26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. over the finish line, arguing that the move would give Canadians “competition and choice.”

The Competition Bureau has been seeking to block the merger over concerns it would substantially lessen wireless competition, and the sale of Freedom was widely expected to be a condition of regulatory approval.

Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor say their agreement would effectively address competitive concerns and keep alive a “strong and sustainable” fourth wireless carrier in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2022.

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

The Canadian Press