Some phone plans pricier than before Rogers-Shaw deal: watchdog

Some phone plans pricier than before Rogers-Shaw deal: watchdog

Certain cellphone plans in Western Canada are not as cheap as they were prior to the Rogers-Shaw merger, Canada’s competition watchdog says.

Jeanne Pratt, the Competition Bureau’s senior deputy commissioner of mergers and monopolistic practices, says the agency hasn’t seen evidence showing Rogers Communications Inc. is offering comparable pricing for bundled wireless plans offered by Shaw Mobile in Alberta and British Columbia before the $26-billion takeover closed last April.

Pratt was testifying at the House of Commons industry committee on Monday along with representatives from the CRTC, as MPs study the accessibility and affordability of wireless and broadband services in Canada.

MPs on the committee sounded the alarm in January, when Rogers confirmed prices were going up by an average of $5 for wireless customers not on contract and some Bell Canada customers were also told their wireless bills were set to increase.

The committee has invited the chief executives of Rogers, Bell parent BCE Inc., and Telus Corp. to testify at an upcoming meeting. However, a notice of meeting this Wednesday lists other representatives of the “Big Three” carriers who are scheduled to appear as witnesses.

NDP MP Brian Masse tabled a motion Monday to summon the three CEOs to appear if the committee’s invitation is not accepted.

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