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Canadian-based telecom providers Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications agreed to combine today in a $26 billion (including debt) merger that executives said will benefit the combined entity and its customers.

Rogers has Canada’s largest 5G network, while Shaw’s strength is in its cable, fiber-to-home and wireless networks. Upon completion of the transaction, the companies plan to invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks across Western Canada. The firms expect the investment to produce as many as 3,000 new jobs.

Today’s merger release notes that Rogers plans to establish a $1 billion connectivity fund dedicated to providing broadband to rural, remote and indigenous communities across Western Canada

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“We are proud to join forces with the Shaw family and team as we combine our companies and our 10,000 team members across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, supported by a head office in Calgary. Western Canada is a major driver of our national economy and together we will have the scale, expertise and commitment to deliver the technology infrastructure needed to keep local communities connected, businesses competitive and attract new investment,” said Joe Natale, Rogers Communications president and CEO, in a prepared statement about the Rogers Shaw merger.

“We’re at a critical inflection point where generational investments are needed to make Canada-wide 5G a reality. 5G is about nation-building; it’s vital to boosting productivity and will help close the connectivity gap faster in rural, remote and Indigenous communities,” he continued. “Fundamentally, this combination of two great companies will create more jobs and investment in Western Canada, connect more people and businesses, deliver best-in-class-services and infrastructure across the nation, and provide increased competition and choice for Canadian consumers and businesses.”

Although smaller in size than the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, the combination of the Canadian-based telecom companies could have the same impact on the Canadian market that the T-Mobile Sprint merger did in the U.S. For example, in both mergers, management vowed to expand service to unserved areas. And 5G network building was a key driver of both mergers.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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