Groups oppose Rogers buying Shaw's network spectrum and ask Ottawa to stop it

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - Five consumer and public advocacy groups are asking federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis to prevent Rogers Communications Inc. from buying unused wireless network spectrum from Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR.B).

The groups say the proposed deal goes against Industry Canada rules that set aside spectrum for new wireless carriers in order to offer consumers more choice and increase competition.

One of the groups, the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre, says consumers were just starting to benefit from having a fourth or fifth wireless provider and some real choice in the cellphone market.

It says the proposed deal is a step back to only three big providers: Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Telus (TSX:T) and Bell (TSX:BCE).

Rogers announced a $700-million deal last week to buy Shaw's unused network spectrum and its Ontario-based Mountain Cablevision Ltd.

In addition to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, other groups opposed to the sale include the Consumers’ Association of Canada,, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia.