A man standing in front of The Mobile Shop.
Photo: The Mobile Shop

Quebecor Files Complaint with Competition Bureau Against Partnership Plans Between Loblaw and Glentel 

Quebecor has filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau regarding an agreement between Loblaw and wireless carriers Bell and Rogers, through their joint venture Glentel, that would give them exclusive selling rights at The Mobile Shop. 

This agreement would shut Freedom Mobile out of 180 Loblaw-owned grocery stores, says Quebecor, and “further strengthen the stranglehold of the telecom oligopoly.” According to Quebecor, this would mean the carriers would control 62.5% of all third-party retailers in the Canadian wireless industry.

Quebecor says it is confident that the Competition Bureau will investigate the grocery giant’s practices and the business model of joint ventures such as Glentel, noting that it believes such a movie would be to the “detriment of Canadian consumers.”

“The agreement between Loblaw and Glentel cloaks yet another attempt by the dominant players in the telecommunications market to thwart competition,” says Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor. “To our knowledge, there is no other oligopoly where two of the three main players are allowed to work hand in hand to exclude competitors from such an important retail channel. This new squeeze by Loblaw, a company currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau for anti-competitive tactics in the grocery industry, is a major cause for concern.”

A man standing in front of The Mobile Shop.
Photo: The Mobile Shop

Quebecor says that in 2023, more than 80% of Canadian wireless product sales were made in person in a store, thus emphasizing the importance of retail sales for Canadian wireless industry revenue. Quebecor believes that Bell, Rogers, and Telus’ dominance in the market is further strengthened with its third-party retail outlets that operate under more generic names like tbooth wireless (owned by Telus), Wirelesswave (owned by Glentel, which is jointly owned by BCE and Rogers Communications), and Wow! Mobile Boutique (jointly owned by Rogers and Telus). This, claims Quebecor, gives customers a “false sense of objectivity.”

With 180 The Mobile Shop locations across Canada, situated without Loblaw-owned grocery stores, Quebecor calculates that the Big Three carriers would control 62.5% of third-party retailers, up from the current 49.5%.

“The expansion of controlled retail will deprive the other players of a fair and equitable opportunity to make a dent in the controlling market share of the Big Three,” Péladeau adds. “These concerns were brought to the attention of Loblaw senior management but were brushed aside. They are pursuing their own financial interests at the expense of Canadian consumers.”