Rogers says wholesale arrangements with Vidéotron not ‘preferential’

Rogers filed the statement in response to TekSavvy's application arguing the arrangement violates the Telecommunications Act

Rogers is asking the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reject TekSavvy’s request that the company give competitors the same wholesale rates it says it will offer to Vidéotron.

TekSavvy’s January 20th file refers to information Rogers shared during the Competition Tribunal’s hearing examining the Competition Bureau’s push to block Rogers’ takeover of Shaw and Vidéotron’s acquisition of Freedom Mobile.

Representatives from Rogers shared Vidéotron will have access to discounts for wholesale high-speed access services, wireless domestic roaming services, and wireless backhaul services.

TekSavvy argues the arrangement violates the Telecommunications Act. “The Commission should either void the Rogers-Vidéotron wholesale arrangements, or order Rogers to offer access to the same terms for wholesale services as those enjoyed by Vidéotron,” TekSavvy wrote in its application.

In Rogers’ response, the company said there is “no basis” for the relief TekSavvy requested. “In any event, the rates in the pending Rogers-Vidéotron agreements are not unduly preferential.”

Bell’s response

TekSavvy also says “undue preference” is present with Bell and its affiliate EBOX. Bell acquired the Quebec-based company last year. 

“Bell and EBOX have made public statements that Bell is offering fibre-to-the-premises services (FTTP) to EBOX. It is clear that these FTTP services are not made available to EBOX via Bell’s established disaggregated tariffs,” TekSavvy’s application says.

But in its response, Bell says that’s not the case.

“The allegation is completely unfounded,” Bell says. 

The company says EBOX isn’t a stand-alone company, but has been combined with Bell.

“There can be no agreement, off-tariff or not, preferential or not, between Bell Canada and EBOX since they are the same corporate entity.”

Bell says the only undue preference allegation in TekSavvy’s application is between Rogers and Vidéotron.

Rogers and Shaw are reaching the two-year mark of announcing plans to merge. However, they still need approval from Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The Minister is responsible for approving Vidéotron’s acquisition of Shaw’s wireless licenses through Freedom Mobile. Champagne has stated multiple times that a decision will come “in due course.”

The Competitive Network Operators of Canada and OpenMedia are part of the various organizations that supported TekSavvy’s application, which is now closed for comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Source: CRTC