Top Q&A regarding the Rogers and Shaw agreement
Rogers and Shaw recently announced an agreement to come together as one company that will invest $6.5 billion in Western Canada – bringing with it new jobs and investments in the region to increase connectivity in rural and remote areas and accelerate Canada’s economy through the 5G rollout. This combination builds on the strong legacy of two family-founded Canadian companies with a shared history of innovation, commitment to customer service and community investment.
There’s been a lot conversation around the proposed agreement between Rogers and Shaw. We’ve provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this proposal.
How will this agreement impact the investment that Canada’s telecommunications companies make to maintain and grow our networks?
Canadian telecommunications providers invest more, per capita, than any country in the G7- 181% more per wireless subscriber. Although Canada is a vast country with low population density, we are proud to say that we are recognized as having some of the best networks in the world. We’re excited that this new agreement with Shaw will serve to increase Rogers overall network investment as we plan to spend an additional $6.5 billion in upgrading and building infrastructure in Western Canada.
Isn’t it true that Canada has some of the most expensive internet prices in the world? Won’t this agreement make it worse?
Not at all. As part of coming together with Shaw we want to bring our Connected for Success program to Western Canada. This program was the first of its kind in Canada and offers low-cost, high-speed Internet to Canadians receiving income support. It’s available to more than 750,000 households in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland today.
Everyone deserves high quality, affordable Internet services, but today there are two million underserved homes in Canada. It’s critical that we address the connectivity gap so that no one is left behind and combining with Shaw will allow us to help close that gap.
While there’s more to do to connect all Canadians, a global study that looked at internet affordability, availability, relevance and readiness ranked Canada 7th overall, out of 100 countries. Additionally, Canada ranked 3rd overall for both internet and wireless affordability. You can take a look at the Economist Intelligent Unit report here. Similarly, global accounting firm PwC recently ranked Canada first in the G7 for affordable wireless services.
Unfortunately, these studies are too often ignored. Instead, more attention has been given to one-dimensional and misleading studies that paint an inaccurate picture of telecom prices and affordability in Canada. You can visit here to find out the facts.
Will this mean that Canadian wireless prices will go up?
We’ve committed to maintaining prices for the next three years for Freedom customers, and we’re proud to say that over the five years, the average Rogers customer has seen a 50% reduction in the cost of mobile data. In fact, Stats Can data show that wireless prices in Canada have actually dropped 25% since 2016, and more than 15% in the past year. Additionally, the government’s own Telecom Quarterly Report shows that prices have decreased between 10 and 18%, since January 2020, depending on the plan.
We are dedicated to bringing fast, reliable, and affordable service to our customers, and are confident that the broader rollout of the 5G network will continue to lower costs for Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
I’ve read that the Rogers-Shaw announcement will mean less telecommunications competition in Canada, is that true?
The Rogers-Shaw proposal will positively impact the overall economic competitiveness of the region and Canadians will continue to be able to choose from a range of options to meet their needs.
Shaw offers TV and Internet services primarily in the West and Rogers in the East, so they’re not direct competitors. This is important because a major part of this transaction involves Shaw’s TV & Internet assets. Just last year alone, 4.2M Canadians chose to change their wireless carrier to sign-up with someone new. And 88% found the price, deal and network coverage that was best for them with one of the three national carriers. This is the sign of a competitive environment that offers vital choice to consumers.
The combined company’s coast-to-coast fibre network would create, for the first time, a new competitor to Bell and Telus for large business and government customers across Canada. Accelerating the rollout of 5G in the Western provinces will also help improve the overall economic competitiveness of the region and help businesses in the West to enable economic diversification.
Will this agreement negatively impact service for Western Canadians, especially in rural areas?
No, in fact it’s just the opposite! Today approximately 10% of homes in Canada have no Internet access and across Canada, and a staggering 45% of rural Canadians don’t have access to the minimum connectivity standard – this issue impacts 33% residents in Alberta, 24% in Saskatchewan and 14% in Manitoba. Sadly, close to 600,000 households in Western Canada still cannot access the minimum Internet speeds recommended by the federal government.
To help bridge this digital divide, as part of this agreement Rogers is committing $1 billion to create a new Rogers Rural and Indigenous Connectivity Fund that will help bring high quality mobile broadband and fixed wireless Internet services to more rural and indigenous communities, in many cases for the first time.
Will this agreement lead to job loss in Alberta, and to another head office leaving the West?
A key part of this agreement is new investment and growth in Western Canada, including 3,000 net new jobs across Western Canada – 60% of which will be in Alberta. We have committed to maintaining a Western head office in Calgary and ensuring that we have a strong local team to continue to serve customers in their communities. We will hire locally as we expand our service, key to ensuring we meet the needs of the region.
The President of Western Operations will be based in the Calgary office, as will other senior roles. The combined company will have a workforce of 10,000 people in the region and will remain one of the largest private sector employers in Western Canada.
Won’t this slow down investment since Shaw outspends Rogers on wireless investment?
Over the past 60 years, we’re proud that Rogers has invested tens of billions of dollars in our wireless network across the country, and we put 80 per cent of our profits back into Canada every year. Between 2018-2020 alone we invested nearly $8 billion in infrastructure, more than double the $3.68B Shaw spent. Rogers is currently in the midst of a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar 5G network investment which is essential to Canada’s digital economy and global competitiveness.