Industry Ministers suggest that Rogers’ suspension could weigh heavily on $ 26 billion show deals

A new comment from Federal Industry Minister Fran├žois Philippe Champagne suggests that a major outage of Rogers Communications last week could weigh on Shaw Communications’ $ 26 billion acquisition proposed by a telecommunications provider. increase.

In an interview in Calgary, Champagne said more than 12 million Canadians lost their mobile phones last Friday and Internet services came to the minds of regulators who were tasked with deciding to merge Rogers and Shaw.

“This is certainly in my heart, and in the hearts of all Canadians. I just experienced one of the most serious outages I remember,” attended Stampede in Calgary on Friday. Champagne, who was to meet with a business leader in Alberta, said.

“So this will come to mind for the various people who need to make a decision.”

The Rogers-Shaw transaction has already been approved by shareholders and the Canadian Radio and Television Communications Commission, but requires approval by the Competition Bureau and Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Department.

Champagne’s comments were made on the same day that Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor Inc. were widely expected to reach a final agreement on the sale of wireless operator Freedom Mobile.

Under this agreement, Quebecor will purchase all Freedom-branded wireless and Internet customers and their infrastructure, spectrum, and retail stores. Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor argue that the deal will expand Quebecor’s wireless business nationwide, and the agreement will effectively continue to be the fourth “strong and sustainable” wireless operator in Canada. ..

But on Friday afternoon, Rogers still reached a final agreement, even though all three continued to pursue the sale of Freedom Mobile under the terms set forth in the previously disclosed agreement. No, he said.

“The final transaction document negotiations are proceeding as expected and the parties will provide up-to-date information in due course,” Rogers spokeswoman Chloe Luciani Gilard said in an email.

Champagne said he couldn’t comment on the benefits of the proposed sale of Freedom Mobile. But from the beginning, he made it very clear that he would not allow large-scale transfers of the spectrum from the show to Rogers, and said the company would have heard his message.

Earlier this week, Champagne met Rogers and several other telecommunications providers and instructed them to come up with a crisis plan to improve the resilience of the sector in the event of a reoccurrence like last Friday. Did. The plan should include an emergency roaming agreement, a “mutual support” framework, and a communication protocol to “provide better information to the public and authorities in the event of a telecommunications emergency.”

However, while network resilience was a top priority at the meeting, Champagne said on Friday that competition in this sector was an important and relevant issue.

“We (the federal government) will continue to drive competition as it also provides some resilience,” he said. “The more options you have, the better your resilience.”

Amanda Stephenson

Canadian press