June 26, 2022

A person walks previous a Freedom cellular retailer in Calgary, on Feb. 2, 2021.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

BCE Inc.’s chief monetary officer says that if Rogers Communications Inc. agrees to promote Shaw Communications Inc.’s Freedom Cellular in a proposed $26-billion takeover, the wi-fi unit can have a tough time competing towards nationwide, built-in telecoms.

Glen LeBlanc mentioned he thinks there’s a “excessive likelihood” that Rogers should promote Shaw’s wi-fi enterprise to achieve regulatory approval of the proposed merger, which might in any other case remove Canada’s fourth-largest wi-fi service.

Nonetheless, Mr. LeBlanc mentioned he believes that with out Shaw’s help, Freedom Cellular will probably be much less efficient at competing towards built-in telecoms who’re capable of win prospects by bundling a number of providers collectively.

“I believe {that a} new fourth participant will probably be weaker than what Shaw has been. It will likely be a wireless-only participant and certain have a weaker stability sheet, competing towards nationwide built-in gamers,” Mr. LeBlanc mentioned Tuesday throughout Scotiabank’s telecom, media and expertise convention.

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Mr. LeBlanc’s feedback come after Innovation, Science and Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne mentioned final week that he received’t permit Rogers to accumulate all of Shaw’s wi-fi licences as a result of doing so could be at odds with Ottawa’s want to encourage competitors within the business.

Quebecor Inc. has publicly expressed curiosity in shopping for Freedom Cellular, which operates in Ontario, Alberta and B.C.

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Mr. LeBlanc mentioned that though Quebecor’s Videotron Ltd. has finished “terribly nicely” in its dwelling market of Quebec, competing out west the place it has no cable community “will probably be very totally different” and will function a distraction.

“It’s going to take their consideration away from their core market in Quebec,” Mr. LeBlanc mentioned, including, “I believe we even have a possibility right here.”

The takeover, which might mix two of the nation’s largest cable networks, requires approval from three federal our bodies – the Competitors Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Fee (CRTC) and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Financial Growth. Rogers has mentioned it expects the deal to shut by the top of June.

On Friday, a Home of Commons report beneficial towards the takeover and urged the federal authorities to prioritize affordability because it opinions the deal.

Doug French, chief monetary officer of Telus Corp., mentioned regulators reviewing the deal should weigh what approving the takeover will imply for consolidation within the business. “If this one is allowed, are others going to be allowed?” Mr. French mentioned instructed traders throughout the Scotiabank convention.

Vancouver-based Telus responded to the information of the proposed merger by rushing up its deliberate community investments, Mr. French added. “When you may have [a larger] fibre footprint, extra 5G, clearly that’s going to permit you to proceed to have … the perfect networks to compete, regardless of who your competitor is,” he mentioned.