Canada’s telecom regulator has asked Rogers Communications Inc. RCI-B-T to disclose the details of its network-sharing agreements with Quebecor Inc.’s QBR-B-T Videotron as part of its takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. SJR-B-T, in response to allegations that the agreements violate the Telecommunications Act and could stifle competition through price discrimination.
The network-sharing agreements are a key issue with Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. As part of the deal, Rogers has agreed to sell Shaw’s Freedom Mobile Inc. to Videotron for $2.85-billion, and commit to providing favourable access to its networks for an extended period of time.
It is unclear whether Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will consider the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s review as part of his approval of the transfer of spectrum from Rogers to Videotron. Mr. Champagne’s approval is the last hurdle standing in the way of closing the deal.
The review stems from Teksavvy Solutions Inc.’s January application to the CRTC asking the regulator to investigate the deals, which the independent service provider said were evidence of undue preference, or unreasonable competitive advantage.
The CRTC has asked Rogers to confidentially share a range of details by April 11, including the type of wholesale service or arrangement provided, instances where the rates differ from those set by the regulator, and a list of all the competing service providers that it has acquired since Jan. 1, 2020.
The CRTC has also asked BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada to disclose its deals with Ebox, a carrier it acquired last year.
The Globe previously reported that since January, the companies have engaged in further discussions with federal government about reducing the domestic roaming rates that are charged when Freedom Mobile customers roam on the Rogers network.