Rogers responds to Bell’s convergence play


 Rogers Communications Inc. appears to be trying to undercut Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.'s efforts to compete in the TV market. Some recent telemarketing calls from both firms provided some insight on the fierce battle between Bell and Rogers, and on information security.


It begs the question of whether Rogers' next move will be to take on Bell in the business space.


Last weekend, someone claiming to be from Rogers called me and said they have “better choice bundles” and offers me a discount, provided I agree to keep my service for 24 months. [I have little doubt the caller was actually a Rogers sales rep, but I don’t have actual proof]. As a residential customer, I currently have Rogers Home Phone, Cable TV and high-speed cable Internet service. I am not actually endorsing Rogers as a provider, but there’s not much choice in the market, and when I signed up two years ago they were a better option than Bell.


Rogers called me a few days after Bell announced television service over Internet service in some parts of Toronto and Montreal.


The timing is no coincidence. Bell is clearly challenging Rogers in both the TV and content market, with Bell's recent announcement it agreed to acquire CTV television.

A few minutes after Rogers called me, someone claiming to be from Bell called and said they were “sorry” to have lost me as a customer and said they wanted to offer me some bundles. I haven't been a Bell customer since 1997, so I guess Bell really missed me. Either that or I'm in one of those neighbourhoods that has access to Bell's Fibe Internet and TV service.


As an aside, I couldn't bring myself to actually agree to anything from Bell or Rogers. Both asked questions I was unwilling to answer for security reasons to an incoming caller. For example, the person claiming to be from Rogers asked “for security reasons” for my date of birth and postal code. At IT World Canada we have done so many stories on IT security and social engineering that I would feel like a fool for answering personal questions to a total stranger who called me on the phone.


Having said that, I can believe both callers were who they said they were. Now that Bell has a wireline TV offering in Ontario, it makes sense for Rogers to protect what they have and offer discounts. It also makes sense for Bell to use its Fibe Internet and Fibe TV service to try to offer bundles.


The big question now is, what will Rogers do to eat Bell’s lunch in the business space?

At the Canadian Telecom Summit in June, 2009, a Rogers vice-president, Terry Canning, said his company plans to re-enter the business space.

In addition to its cable plant, Rogers inherited a fibre network when it acquired Call-Net Enterprises Inc. in 2005.


Although Fibe TV is a consumer service in Toronto and Montreal, the launch shows Bell is trying to hit Rogers hard in the communications market. Watch for some return fire from Rogers.


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