June 18th, 2024

Quebecor wants Ottawa to stop Loblaw from only offering Rogers, Bell phone products

By The Canadian Press on May 22, 2024.

The chief executive of Quebecor Inc. is urging Ottawa to intervene in what he calls an "anticompetitive" deal between Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and telecommunications services retailer Glentel that would end Freedom Mobile's presence at supermarket kiosks. Quebecor chief executive Pierre-Karl Peladeau speaks to the media after the company's annual meeting in Montreal, Thursday, May 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The chief executive of Quebecor Inc. is urging Ottawa to intervene in what he calls an “anticompetitive” deal between Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and telecommunications services retailer Glentel that would end Freedom Mobile’s presence at its supermarket kiosks.

In a May 9 letter to Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau alleged Loblaw “decided to prematurely terminate” a supply contract between the chain’s in-store kiosks, known as the Mobile Shop, and the telecom’s Freedom Mobile subsidiary.

He says the grocer is instead partnering with Glentel, which is jointly owned by Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Canada and operates stores such as Wireless Wave and Tbooth Wireless.

While Péladeau says Loblaw has described the move as a routine decision about its store suppliers, he calls it “a stratagem designed to exclude some carriers in favour of Glentel.”

The Mobile Shop is available at 180 Loblaw-owned grocery stores across Canada and currently lists plans for sale from all four major Canadian carriers or their subsidiaries on its website.

In a statement, Champagne’s office says the letter would be best addressed to the Competition Bureau, as the minister cannot direct an investigation on the matter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B, TSX:L)

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