Conservatives seek to fuel competition in Canada’s telecommunications market


Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole addresses supporters during a campaign stop in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, August 25, 2021. REUTERS / Carlos Osorio

CARLOS OSORIO / Reuters

The Conservative Party says that, if elected, it will consider reducing regulations to encourage new wireless players to enter the Canadian telecommunications market.

In a statement, the Conservatives noted that current rules limit foreign ownership of a Canadian telecommunications company to a maximum of 20 percent of voting shares and no more than 33.3 percent of voting shares. vote of an operator’s holding company, with a total effective limit of 46.7 percent foreign ownership – as long as the foreign entity does not have control.

Telecoms that hold less than 10 percent market share are already exempt from any foreign ownership restrictions.

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“One of the main reasons for high cell phone bills is the lack of competition. We need more players in the Canadian market to help improve the choice and affordability of wireless for consumers, ”Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said at a press conference Tuesday.

The Tories also said they had “serious concerns” about Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc. and, if elected, would reject any merger that significantly lessens competition.

A spokesperson for Shaw declined to comment. Rogers said in a statement that the regulatory process is underway and the company “will continue to work constructively with regulators as they review the transaction.”

The deal, announced in March and valued at $ 26 billion, including debt, is currently under review by the Competition Bureau, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Broadcasting Council. and Canadian telecommunications. If approved, it would reduce the number of wireless competitors from four to three in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne previously told Bloomberg News that the proposed merger created “very serious” competition concerns.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh previously said in a statement that the merger “would only help large telecommunications companies profit more at the expense of Canadians.” The NDP pledged to “cap the charges” on cell phone and Internet services if elected, but provided no further details.

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