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Mobilicity takes Rogers to task over Chatr, alleges it's using a 'flanker brand'

Chris Ziegler

At a glance, it seems like upstart Canadian value carrier Mobilicity has a fairly cut-and-dried case against Rogers here, alleging in a complaint to the government's Competition Bureau that the big guy is in direct violation of Section 78 of the country's Competition Act that prevents established companies from creating so-called "flanker brands" offering lower prices to kill off new players. In other words, it's saying Rogers' new Chatr sub-brand only exists to make life difficult for the likes of Mobilcity, WIND Mobile, and Public Mobile -- and considering the uncanny timing of Chatr's creation, Rogers is probably going to have a tough time explaining that one away. Thing is, various sources inside the regulatory bodies at play are apparently telling The Globe and Mail that the complaint could literally take years to make its way through the system -- a typical bureaucratic nightmare -- so even if Rogers is in the wrong here, it might not have any material effect on Mobilicity's short-term prospects. For that, it'll take good, old-fashioned subscriber conquests and efficient management, we suppose.

Update: Rogers has just reached out and provided a statement from chief marketing officer John Boyton; the gist? The company hasn't heard from any government agency, Competition Bureau or otherwise:

"We have not been notified by any government agencies, including the Competition Bureau, of any complaints filed by Mobilicity. Other new entrants and competitors are welcoming the competition. They, like us, believe it's good for customers. Our motive is simple, to offer customers choice and serve a growing segment that is looking for unlimited talk and text on a network they can trust. We've adhered to regulations and pro-actively reached out to the Competition Bureau. We are committed to chatr and look forward to it being a success."

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