Peladeau blasts Rogers plan to buy Freedom Mobile, says it would set back competition

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TORONTO — Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau says a planned takeover by Rogers of Shaw Communications’  Freedom Mobile banner would undermine 15 years of government policy supporting strong competitors to the country’s three biggest wireless carriers.

Peladeau’s comments came as MPs review Rogers Communications’s proposed $26-million purchase of Shaw.

The deal announced March 15 needs regulatory approval to go forward. Rogers and Freedom Mobile — which is Canada’s fourth-largest wireless carrier — are direct competitors in some markets.

Peladeau’s Quebecor and its Videotron subsidiary are relatively new competitors in the wireless industry but have become strong competitors in Quebec where they battle against Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Peladeau told members of the Industry, Science and Technology committee that a takeover of Freedom Mobile by Rogers would eliminate a strong competitor in Ontario and Western Canada and return Canada to where it was in 2007.

He said Videotron has become a strong fourth carrier in Quebec but that Canadians in other provinces also deserve to have a fourth independent operator that competes with the Big Three.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:SJR.B, TSX:QBR.B)

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