Happy New Years from Rogers: Telco Jacks Up Mobile Rates After Vowing to Lower Them

Telecom giant, Rogers, has announced that plans are going up by $9 per month for customers.

When Rogers first proposed their $26 billion purchase of Shaw, the concerns were that this would lead to less competition, fewer jobs, and higher rates. Rogers, however, countered that, contrary to almost every other merger that has ever happened in the consumer space, this deal would result in more jobs, more competition, and lower prices for consumers. For reasons that should be incredibly obvious, these claims were laughable.

Sadly, thanks to how corrupt the system is, the right wheels were greased as government officials simply took Rogers claims at face value and simply waved the merger through. Experts were ignored in the process. Basic common sense of 4 minute 1 equals 3 were carelessly dismissed. Innovation Minister, François-Philippe Champagn, eventually dispensed with the theatrics and rubber stamped the deal knowing full well just who he serves. That ultimately cleared the final hurdle as the merger would complete shortly after to the anger of the Canadian public.

With all the lies having done their job to sell the merger, Rogers quickly dropped the facade and did what was widely expected in the fallout of such a mega merger. Funding got slashed, jobs got slashed, and just to add insult to injury, the company went before the CRTC to beg for more money, claiming poverty as one of the three telecom monopolies on top of it all. What’s more, politician’s have remained largely radio silent on the issues for rea$on$ that are a total my$tery.

With pretty much every other step in the typical process of such a mega merger, there was only one final step left: jacking up prices. With the lack of competition now more prominent than ever before, the prices had only one direction left to go: up. At the start of the new year, up was certainly a direction they went in. From Mobile Syrup:

Some Rogers and Fido users will see the cost of their wireless plans and internet increase in the coming days.

The Toronto-based telecom giant confirmed the news to MobileSyrup. The price hike for most customers will be between $7 and $9 per month; however, it could be less and depends on each user’s plan.

Customers not on fixed terms will see the monthly price hike on their first bill after January 17th. Customers on term contracts won’t see a price increase for the remainder of their agreements. iPhone in Canada, the first to report the news, notes the increase will apply when the terms end.

One Rogers customer told the publication they would see a $7/month price hike on their $95/135GB Infinite plan. A $9 increase will apply to their second line, a $75/60GB Infinite Premium plan. Rogers informed customers of the change through monthly statements.

This was all widely predicted by anyone criticizing the Rogers Shaw merger. With minimal competition in the market diminishing even further, prices were destined to go up regardless of other outside forces. In fact, outside forces would only serve as cover for raising the rates in the process. In the process of removing one of the major players in the market, consumers will also have fewer opportunities to “vote with their wallet” when quality of service tanks even further.

What’s more, this highlights just how badly broken Canada’s competition laws have become. If one of only 4 remaining players in a market can simply buy up one of their competitors with little resistance from the government, then that points to major problems in the enforcement of competition laws. In fact, the only organization that actually did step up to provide a fight was the Competition Bureau. Sadly, the courts quickly quashed the complaint and the organization didn’t fight this travesty any more.

In the end, it’s the consumers that get hurt by all of this. With less choice, higher prices, and worse service, they’ll be the ones suffering in all of this. Even more, anyone trying to innovate online will face significant road blocks thanks to the eroding quality of internet access accross the country. Can those hurdles be overcome? Possibly. Should online innovators face those additional hurdles just because of the monopolistic system we have today? Absolutely not.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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