Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications bosses predictably argued a pro-competition case for a planned CAD26 billion ($20.6 billion) acquisition as politicians commenced a probe into the impact of the deal.

In evidence to a Canadian parliamentary committee, Shaw Communications chief Brad Shaw highlighted network investment benefits, arguing this would maintain competition despite the reduction in operator numbers, Reuters reported

Boosting 5G investment was a key argument Rogers Communications made when it announced the deal earlier this month.

CEO Joe Natale told politicians the operator had to capitalise on its current leading position by subscribers through network upgrades and expansion, Globe News reported.

GSMA Intelligence estimated the operator had 13.9 million connections (including cellular IoT) at end Q4 2020, ahead of Telus (13.1 million) and Bell Canada (12.8 million). Shaw Communications’ Freedom Mobile brand had 1.9 million.

The Toronto Star noted Shaw Communications’ positive stance on the takeover appeared at odds with “years” of argument over the role its mobile unit played in terms of pressuring the top three to cut prices, a point which did not escape the committee.

Shaw Communications president Paul McAleese addressed this by explaining the country required “dynamic competition” instead of focusing on the number of operators, and pricing had fallen due to various factors, the newspaper stated.

Reuters cited a government mandate for the big three to cut prices issued in 2020.