The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Canada’s Rogers bets big on population boom

Telecom mogul expands reach into real estate, sports for business diversification

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 13, 2023 - 17:08

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Rogers Communications Chairman Edward Rogers speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Monday. (Im Se-jun / The Korea Herald) Rogers Communications Chairman Edward Rogers speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Monday. (Im Se-jun / The Korea Herald)

An expansion of the business into the real estate market and beyond comes as Rogers Communications Chairman Edward Rogers, who leads the Canada-based technology and media company, bets high on the country’s burgeoning economy.

Rogers has been focusing on diversifying his business outside of the core telecom space, co-founding the real estate development and management firm Constantine Enterprises with his longtime friend Robert Hiscox in 2013.

“It was to take advantage of the amazing growth that Canada has seen,” Rogers said in an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Monday, when asked about the motivation to expand his business reach into the real estate industry.

“There are a lot of people from around the world that are moving to Toronto. Southern Ontario is the No. 1 market where people are moving to,” he said.

The business expansion came naturally, as Rogers Communications has a history of working with real estate companies for building facilities and infrastructure at new property developments.

With both entities controlled by Rogers as chairman, Rogers Communications’ network infrastructure is set up for Constantine's real estate developments, in a bid to ensure that the buildings have the “best facilities.”

“We want to build the infrastructure to future-proof (the buildings). Not only do customers get what they want today, but we have the assets in place to future-proof (the buildings) so they can get what they need in five, 10 and plus years," he said.

Further veering away from the traditional media sector, Rogers has also owned the Major League Baseball team Toronto Blue Jays since 2000, which Korean star pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has been with since 2020.

“Both real estate and sports have something in common. These are assets that our kids and grandkids are going to need. You are always going to need a place to work live and play, and sports brands will hold the test of time,” he said.

As for the telecom side of the business, Rogers is focused on expanding the service to far-out regions. Earlier in April, the company and US space firm SpaceX agreed to bring satellite-to-phone coverage in Canada using Starlink's low earth orbit satellites.

“Canada is the second-largest country by landmass in the world. The population is just about 40 million, so there is a lot of land that is not used in a large country. There are large areas of Canada we do not cover, and none of the carriers do because people do not live there,” he said.

“Speed used to be the biggest factor for a cable network or wireless networks. Today, they are all quite good. The major differentiator is the reliability,” Rogers said. "We are one of the first to (embed satellite connectivity into wireless phones) but this will be a trend in a lot of countries as we go forward."

The telecom tycoon further added the company has been keeping its eyes on Korean counterparts such as SK Telecom and KT Corp., top mobile carriers here.

"Korea's reputation in communications is among the very top. The best wireless networks and fastest data networks are found here. We have studied that and tried to learn from it," he said.