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BCE Calls on Canada’s Harper to Reverse Verizon-Friendly Policy

BCE Inc. (BCE), Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, is ramping up pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reverse policies that the company said would unfairly subsidize the entry of U.S. carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) into Canada’s phone market.

BCE said the government’s decision to prevent Canada’s largest phone companies from buying smaller rivals will allow New York-based Verizon to acquire those businesses at “cut-rate prices.” Other policies that will unfairly benefit Verizon include the decision to reserve airwaves for new entrants and rules that force incumbents to offer up their networks for use by competitors, Montreal-based BCE said.

“Our federal government is unintentionally underwriting the success of U.S. companies in Canada,” BCE Chief Executive Officer George Cope said in a statement. The company also had a two-page advertisement in the Globe and Mail newspaper today. “We ask that Ottawa allow Canadian wireless companies a fair chance to compete by closing these loopholes.”

BCE has fallen 12 percent since touching a 2013 high on May 22 in part due to concern that Verizon may acquire Toronto-based Wind Mobile and buy wireless spectrum to build a fourth national carrier in Canada.

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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