The Rogers Communications sign that marks the company’s headquarters in Toronto, April 25, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

The Rogers Communications sign that marks the company’s headquarters in Toronto, April 25, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

MPs set to scrutinize Rogers takeover of Shaw in virtual hearings

Critics fear that prices will go up and service quality will go down

TORONTO — Chief executives from two of Canada’s telecom companies will face questions from federal lawmakers today at a virtual Commons committee hearing on Rogers Communications Inc.’s plan to acquire Shaw Communications Inc.

The Industry, Science and Technology committee has scheduled three hours today and another two hours on Wednesday to hear about the proposed $26 billion takeover.

The proposed deal has faced stiff opposition from consumer groups, academics, customers and others since Rogers and Shaw jointly announced their agreement two weeks ago.

Critics fear that prices will go up and service quality will go down if Rogers eliminates one of its competitors — especially Shaw’s Freedom Mobile business.

In announcing the deal on March 15, Rogers chief executive Joe Natale said that he was confident of getting regulatory and government approval by early 2022.

But Natale also said the most complex part of the approvals would involve Freedom Mobile, which is a direct competitor to Rogers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2021.

Internet and Telecom