Last August, Canada’s Competition Bureau was ordered to pay Rogers $13 million.
“How often are they going to increase prices before Canadians say ‘that’s enough?’”Nida Zafar,
Our merger court decided that the bureau’s attempts to block the Rogers-Shaw merger, led by commissioner of competition Matthew Boswell, were “unreasonable.”
As a longtime telecom reporter, I can tell you that prices going up (and the fact that Canada has some of the highest bills in the world) is a song as old as time. This time, however, the price hikes seem to have struck a nerve.
MPs are up in arms, demanding the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology reconvene to discuss the issue. The results of that meeting? Agreement that someone should study why Canadian phone plans keep increasing in price and not much else.
On the day that he approved the merger, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, Francois-Phillippe Champagne, threatened “further legislative and regulatory” action if he didn’t start seeing prices go down.
In response to the latest curfuffle, Champagne lamented that “Canadians still pay too much and see too little competition,” while his ISED representatives were advising Canadians to “consider switching service providers.”
But as our guest this week, MobileSyrup telecom reporter Nida Zafar, tells us on the podcast, changing carriers won’t change prices, because Canada is in a competition crisis.
So we know why this keeps happening. The big question: what happens next?
Well, Matthew Boswell’s term was extended in December, a week after he received new powers to combat anti-competitive practices (#FreeBoswell). Perhaps coincidentally, Rogers was named number one in customer complaints for the first time in 15 years.
Did Rogers finally cross a line, riling Canadians (and our elected representatives) into action?
Let’s dig in.
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