Canada’s Industry Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, has allowed the $26bn merger of Rogers and Shaw to continue, and threatened to utilize his legislative and regulatory powers to bring down prices in the sector if other telcos fail to follow suit. Upon approving Shaw’s sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Vidéotron, Champagne said he had secured commitments that would cement Vidéotron as a legitimate fourth player capable of forcing Rogers and the other two to compete on price, however if cell phone bills don’t get cheaper, “I will have no choice but to seek further legislative and regulatory powers to drive down prices in Canada.” Yet some see Champagne’s threat as hollow, given the failure of successive governments to promote more competition, while others suggest the minister could direct the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to regulate wireless rates. Meanwhile, there is growing interest in expanding access for existing and new entrants to compete in the wireless market.
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