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Rogers Communications

Fred Lum

Rogers Communications Inc. says it's laying off about 900 employees across Canada, mostly in executive and management positions, in an effort to streamline operations to contend with rivals.

A spokeswoman for the telecommunications and media giant says the layoffs represent 3 per cent of the company's total work force.

"The goal was to streamline the organization, remove the number of layers and enable quick and faster decision making," said Rogers spokeswoman Terrie Tweddle in an interview Thursday.

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Areas of the company affected by the cuts include marketing and communications, human resources, and technology support operations.

Ms. Tweddle added that the cuts have a minimal effect on "front-line" operations, such as call centres and customer services.

"We actually continue to hire and invest in resources, particularly in customer-facing areas, while we're going through the reorganization," she said.

Rogers owns Canada's largest wireless phone service, marketed under the Rogers Wireless and Fido brands, as well as Rogers Cable, numerous publications and broadcast outlets and the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

The job cuts come as Rogers faces heated competition from established rivals Bell and Telus and new entrants who plan to offer cheaper wireless airtime packages.

In September, the company announced plans to further integrate its cable and wireless businesses to better respond to its customers.

"Our industry is in transition with products and networks converging, product cycles maturing and customer expectations increasing. To remain the industry leader, we need to work and operate differently," Rogers president and chief executive officer Nadir Mohamed said at the time.

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On Tuesday, a judge in B.C. decided that Rogers cannot continue to claim it has "Canada's Most Reliable" wireless network without qualification. The decision followed a request by competitor Telus Corp. to prevent Rogers from making the statement in its advertisements. Rogers says it plans to appeal.

Shares of the company fell 45 cents to $32.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.



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