Rogers mobile and internet networks face disruptions

A major outage of Rogers Communications mobile and internet networks on Friday caused widespread disruptions across Canada.
Rogers 5G network in Canada
“We are currently experiencing an outage across our wireline and wireless networks and our technical teams are working hard to restore services as quickly as possible,” Rogers said in a statement.

The outage, which appears to be bigger than the one last year that largely affected consumers, comes as Rogers is attempting to take over rival Shaw Communications in a C$20-billion deal.

Canada’s competition bureau blocked Rogers’ proposed purchase of Shaw, saying it would hamper competition in the country where telecom rates are some of the steepest in the world.

Rogers, which has about 10 million wireless subscribers and 2.25 million retail internet subscribers, is the leading service provider in Ontario, and along with BCE and Telus, controls 90 percent of the market share in Canada.

The Rogers outage is likely to raise concerns about competition in the industry.

“Today’s outage illustrates the need for more independent competition that will drive more network investment so outages are far less likely,” said Anthony Lacavera, managing director of Globealive, an investment firm that had bid for a wireless provider involved in the Rogers/Shaw deal.

Police in Ottawa, the Canadian capital city, said some callers may have difficulty reaching emergency services via 911 calls. Police in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, raised a similar concern, although said its call center was fully operational.

Interac, which operates an email money transfer service used by several Canadian banks, said the outage was affecting its services. Toronto-Dominion Bank said it was facing system issues with Interac e-Transfer service.

Bank Of Montreal said the outage was affecting financial institutions, toll-free numbers as well as transactions, while Royal Bank of Canada said its ATM and online banking services were affected.

Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources, showed over 20,000 user reports of the outage. The reports dropped to nearly 10,000 by 9 am ET.