Some Cellphone Plans Not as Cheap as They Were Before Rogers-Shaw Merger: Watchdog

Some Cellphone Plans Not as Cheap as They Were Before Rogers-Shaw Merger: Watchdog
A person uses a cell phone in Ottawa on July 18, 2022. The number of Canadians working through a digital platform or app is on the rise. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
The Canadian Press

Certain cellphone plans in Western Canada are not as cheap as they once were prior to the Rogers-Shaw merger, Canada’s competition watchdog says.

Jeanne Pratt, the Competition Bureau’s senior deputy commissioner of mergers and monopolistic practices, says the agency hasn’t seen evidence showing Rogers Communications Inc. is offering comparable pricing for bundled wireless plans offered by Shaw Mobile in Alberta and B.C. before the $26-billion takeover closed last April.

Ms. Pratt was testifying at the House of Commons’ industry committee on Feb. 26 along with representatives from the CRTC, as MPs study the accessibility and affordability of wireless and broadband services in Canada.

MPs on the committee sounded the alarm in January, when Rogers confirmed prices were going up by an average of $5 for wireless customers not on contract, and some Bell Canada customers were also told their wireless bills were set to increase.

The committee has invited the chief executives of Rogers, BCE Inc., and Telus Corp. to testify at an upcoming meeting, however a notice of meeting this Feb. 28 lists other representatives of the Big 3 carriers who are scheduled to appear as witnesses.

NDP MP Brian Masse tabled a motion on Feb. 26 to summon the three CEOs to appear if that invitation is not accepted.