Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Canada’s Competition Bureau agreed to start a mediation process as part of efforts to secure regulatory approval for the delayed CAD26 billion (US$20.1 billion) merger between the two rival operators.

According to the country’s Competition Tribunal, the parties have “advised the tribunal that they wish to participate in the mediation” set for 4 and 5 July. The mediation could ultimately result in a settlement and avoid a legal battle.

The latest development comes a week after Rogers and Shaw announced plans to sell the latter’s Freedom Mobile business to Montreal-based telecoms and media group Quebecor for CAD2.8 billion ($2.2 billion). However, it appears that more concessions will be required to satisfy competition concerns.

It was also rumoured late last week that the two operators may be required to sell off Shaw Mobile unit, which operates as a complementary business to Freedom Mobile.

Reuters reported that if the parties fail to agree to solutions proposed by a tribunal judge, the matter will go to a trial that is expected to start in November. An outcome would then be expected by the end of the year.