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Canada - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Canada’s telecoms market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Infrastructure;
Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
Convergence and Digital Media;
3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

Bell acquires Quebec’s Astral Media for C$3.38 billion; Shaw Communications begins extending its WiFi network; Eastlink launches 200Mb/s service; Rogers Communications discontinues WiMAX service; Bell enhances mobile TV service; government proposes relaxation of foreign company ownership rules in telecom sector; regulator’s policy to migrate telcos to IP networks; TELUS’s LTE network to cover 25 million by end-2012; regulator’s mid-2011 market data update; company operating and financial data to Q1 2012; market developments into 2012.


FttH offers expanding in the wake of market challenge from cablecosBuddeComm’s latest annual publication, Canada – Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecoms and digital media sectors in one of the world’s more progressive markets. The report includes the regulator’s mid-2011 market data update, company operating and financial data to Q1 2012, and market developments into 2012.

Telecom sector background

Canada’s fully privatised telecom market is dominated by the incumbents Bell Canada, TELUS, Bell-Aliant, MTS and SaskTel. Smaller operators including cablecos and utility telcos serve a range of municipal areas. Despite competition, the five largest companies control the large majority of telecom sector revenue. Service revenue has grown steadily in recent years, bucking the trend for stagnant or negative growth seen in many other developed markets. Although growth has slowed since 2007, it continues to be supported by the broadband sector and data services (both broadband and wireless), which are compensating for falling fixed-voice revenue Wireless revenue now comprises almost half of total telecom revenue, compared to a third in 2006.

Broadband sector

Canada’s slide in OECD broadband rankings in recent years has enervated the government and regulator to step up policies to widen the availability of broadband and improve accessible data rates. The market remains dominated by the major incumbents which has resulted in limited effective competition in the DSL sector. Nevertheless since 2009 there has been a notable increase in fibre deployments and DOCSIS upgrades, and the next two to three years will see telcos expedite their FttH network roll outs in response to cablcos’ expanding the reach of their 100Mb/s and 200Mb/s offerings.

Wireless broadband has become a realistic alternative to fixed-line broadband, with the deployment of WiMAX networks supplemented by the expanding reach of HSPA and LTE. Shaw Communications has stepped up its WiMAX efforts, since deciding using its spectrum allocation to develop a more expensive cellular network, though Rogers Communications in early 2012 ended its WiMAX offering, choosing instead to use its spectrum allocation for LTE.

Mobile sector

The mobile sector received a boost since the market entry of four new players which had obtained AWS spectrum in 2008. Despite these new entrants, the market is expected to remain relatively concentrated for at least the next three to five years. On a national level three carriers alone together account for more than 90% of the market by subscribers. However, on a provincial level the provision of wireless services is dominated by the local fixed-line incumbent. Revenue is expected to climb steadily during the next few years as operators capitalise on mobile data services made more practicable for consumers by the proliferation of available devices and more capable networks.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2013
Sector 2010 2013 (e)

Subscribers by sector (million):

Fixed broadband subscribers 10.3 12.2
Mobile phone 25.8 28.2
Fixed-line telephony 18.0 17.5

Penetration by sector:

Broadband 31.0% 35.1%
Mobile 72% 85%
Fixed-line 52% 49%
(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

Rogers Communications recently discontinued its ‘Portable Internet’ WiMAX service, instead focussing on its 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks. The move followed the accession by the regulator that Rogers and Bell could convert their use of 2.5GHz spectrum from fixed (including WiMAX) to mobile use.

Given market constraints and the cost of deploying broadband to thinly populated regional areas, the regulator in mid-2011 upgraded the target for basic broadband access across Canada, aiming for a minimum 5Mb/s service by 2015.

The cableco Shaw Communications withdrew from the wireless market in favour of developing a WiFi alternative, citing the high cost of deploying the former and the uncertain returns on investment expected from a competitive market.

In early 2012 the regulator introduced a policy to encourage telcos to migrate to IP throughout their networks, aiming to phase out voice circuit-switched technology and so end the need for operators to convert IP voice traffic to the older TDM standard where necessary.The fibre sector has developed strongly in recent years as telcos respond to cablecos’ offerings based on DOCSIS3.0 technology. SaskTel is investing around $670 million in an FttH network to 2019, while Bell Canada has launched an FttH services across Quebec City offering downloads of up to 175Mb/s.Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
4. Fixed Network Market
4.1 Overview
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.2 International infrastructure
5.3 FttH and FttN
5.4 Cable HFC networks
6. Internet and the E-Commerce Market
6.1 Internet revenues
7. Broadband Market
7.1 Industry overview and analysis
7.1.1 Broadband policy initiatives
7.1.2 Broadband statistics
7.2 Cable modems
7.2.1 Overview and statistics
7.2.2 Major cable broadband providers
7.3 Digital subscriber line (DSL)
7.3.1 Overview
7.3.2 Major DSL providers
7.4 Fibre-to-the-Home/Node (FttH/FttN)
7.5 Wireless broadband
7.5.1 WiFi
7.5.2 WiMAX
7.5.3 Satellite
7.5.4 HSPA and LTE
7.5.5 WiFi
8. Digital Media and Digital Economy
8.1 Digital Media
8.1.1 Overview
8.1.2 Digital television (DTV)
8.1.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
8.1.4 TV-over-IP (IPTV)
8.1.5 Cable telephony and VoIP
8.2 Digital Economy
8.2.1 Smart grid developments
8.2.2 E-health developments
8.2.3 E-commerce
8.2.4 Smart grid developments
9. Wireless Communications
9.1 Market analysis
9.2 Overview of Canada’s Wireless market
9.2.1 Wireless statistics
9.3 Regulatory overview
9.3.1 CRTC and Industry Canada
9.3.2 Spectrum licensing
9.4 Wireless technologies
9.4.1 Personal communications services (PCS)
9.4.2 GSM
9.4.3 Long-term evolution (LTE) wireless
9.4.4 WiMAX
9.5 Major wireless operators
9.5.1 Rogers Wireless
9.5.2 Bell Mobility
9.5.3 TELUS Mobility
9.5.4 SaskTel Mobility
9.5.5 MTS Allstream
9.5.6 New entrants
9.6 Wireless services
9.6.1 Prepaid and postpaid services
9.6.2 Wireless data services
9.6.3 Text messaging (SMS)
9.6.4 Multimedia messaging service (MMS)
9.6.5 Mobile TV
10. Forecasts
10.1 Broadband subscriber forecasts to 2015
10.2 Wireless penetration and revenue – 2011-2016
10.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
11. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2011 (e)
Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 3 – Telecom revenue distribution by market sector – 2011 (e)
Table 4 – Fixed-line statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 5 – Major ISPs – 2012
Table 6 – Internet user statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 7 – Broadband statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 8 – Wireless statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 9 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 10 – Telecom, broadcasting revenue– 2007 - 2012
Table 11 – Telecoms revenue by type – 2006 - 2012
Table 12 – Telecoms revenue by type of provider – 2008 - 2012
Table 13 – Telecoms investment by type – 2006 - 2012
Table 14 – Fixed-line voice revenue – 2002 - 2012
Table 15 – Fixed-line retail and wholesale revenue – 2006 - 2012
Table 16 – Cableco revenue – 2008 - 2012
Table 17 – Internet revenue – 2001 - 2013
Table 18 – Internet revenue – 2001 - 2013
Table 19 – Broadband availability through Economic Action Plan – 2010 - 2012
Table 20 – Residential DSL and cable broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2012
Table 21 – Broadband penetration in leading OECD countries – 2001; 2006; 2011
Table 22 – Broadband penetration – 2004 - 2012
Table 23 – Proportion of broadband subscribers by data rate – 2006 - 2012
Table 24 – Proportion of broadband subscribers by platform (cable, dial-up, DSL) – 2006; 2010
Table 25 – Cable modem subscribers by major operator – 2003 - 2011
Table 26 – Broadband data speeds; proportion of subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 27 – Cable broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 28 – Shaw Communications subscribers – 2010 - 2012
Table 29 – Shaw Communications revenue – 2009 - 2012
Table 30 – Rogers Cable financial data – 2010 - 2012
Table 31 – Rogers Cable subscriber data – 2010 - 2012
Table 32 – Videotron subscriber data – 2008 - 2011
Table 33 – Cogeco financial data – 2010 - 2012
Table 34 – Cogeco subscribers by sector – 2009 - 2012
Table 35 – DSL subscribers by major operator – 2004 - 2011
Table 36 – Bell Canada (BCE) financial data – 2008 - 2012
Table 37 – Bell Canada revenue by division – 2008 - 2012
Table 38 – Bell Canada subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2012
Table 39 – Bell Aliant subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2012
Table 40 – Bell Aliant financial data – 2008 - 2012
Table 41 – TELUS financial data – 2006 - 2011
Table 42 – TELUS subscribers by sector– 2007 - 2011
Table 43 – MTS financial data – 2007 - 2011
Table 44 – MTS revenue by sector – 2007 - 2011
Table 45 – MTS subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2011
Table 46 – SaskTel financial data – 2007 - 2011
Table 47 – SaskTel subscriber by sector – 2007 - 2011
Table 48 – DTH sector revenue – 2007 - 2012
Table 49 – Mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2010 - 2012
Table 50 – Broadcasting revenue by type – 2006 - 2012
Table 51 – Bundled services penetration by operator (Anglophone market) – 2010
Table 52 – Bundled services penetration by operator (Francophone market) – 2010
Table 53 – Subscribers to broadcasting services by type – 2006 - 2012
Table 54 – Digital TV (cable, satellite, telco) and total TV households – 2002 - 2010
Table 55 – Cablecos’ revenue and annual change – 2008 - 2012
Table 56 – Wireless subscribers and annual change – 2000 - 2014
Table 57 – Wireless subscribers by major provider – 2004 - 2011
Table 58 – Wireless operator market share – 2006 - 2010
Table 59 – Wireless provider market share by province – 2010
Table 60 – Wireless industry revenue by service type – 2002 - 2012
Table 61 – Rogers Wireless pre and postpaid revenue, operating income – 2002 - 2012
Table 62 – Rogers Wireless pre and postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2012
Table 63 – Rogers Wireless churn – 2009 - 2012
Table 64 – Rogers Wireless ARPU – 2009 - 2012
Table 65 – Bell Wireless operating data – 2008 - 2012
Table 66 – Bell Wireless financial data – 2008 - 2012
Table 67 – TELUS Mobility revenue, EBITDA – 2003 - 2011
Table 68 – TELUS Mobility penetration and coverage – 2003 - 2011
Table 69 – TELUS Mobility prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2011
Table 70 – TELUS Mobility ARPU and monthly churn rate – 2002 - 2011
Table 71 – SaskTel Mobility revenue – 2009 - 2011
Table 72 – SaskTel Mobility subscribers – 2007 - 2011
Table 73 – MTS Allstream wireless revenue, ARPU – 2007 - 2011
Table 74 – MTS Allstream subscribers – 2007 - 2011
Table 75 – Videotron cellular subscriber data – 2008 - 2011
Table 76 – Prepaid subscribers by major operator – 2004 - 2011
Table 77 – Prepaid and post-paid sector revenue – 2006 - 2012
Table 78 – Total SMS and MMS sent – 2009 - 2012
Table 79 – Text messages sent per month – 2002 - 2012
Table 80 – Forecast residential DSL, cable, FttH and 4G wireless broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2011 - 2015
Table 81 – Forecast residential DSL, cable, FttH and 4G wireless broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2011 - 2015
Table 82 – Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration and revenue – lower growth scenario – 2011 - 2016
Table 83 – Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration and revenue – higher growth scenario – 2011 - 2016
Chart 1 – Telecoms revenue by type – 2006 – 2012
Chart 2 – Residential DSL and cable broadband subscribers – 2001 – 2012
Chart 3 – Cable modem subscribers by major operator – 2003 – 2011
Chart 4 – Shaw Communications subscribers – 2010 – 2012
Chart 5 – Rogers Cable subscriber data – 2010 – 2012
Chart 6 – Videotron subscriber data – 2008 – 2011
Chart 7 – Cogeco subscribers by sector – 2009 – 2012
Chart 8 – DSL subscribers by major operator – 2004 - 2011
Chart 9 – Bell Canada (BCE) financial data – 2008 – 2012
Chart 10 – Bell Canada revenue by division – 2008 – 2012
Chart 11 – Bell Canada subscribers by sector – 2008 – 2012
Chart 12 – Bell Aliant subscribers by sector – 2008 – 2012
Chart 13 – Bell Aliant financial data – 2008 – 2012
Chart 14 – TELUS subscribers by sector– 2007 – 2011
Chart 15 – MTS revenue by sector – 2007 – 2011
Chart 16 – MTS subscribers by sector – 2007 – 2011
Chart 17 – SaskTel financial data – 2007 – 2011
Chart 18 – SaskTel subscriber by sector – 2007 – 2011
Chart 19 – Wireless subscribers and annual change – 2000 - 2014
Chart 20 – Wireless subscribers by major provider – 2004 – 2011
Chart 21 – Rogers Wireless pre and postpaid subscribers – 2009 – 2012
Chart 22 – Bell Wireless financial data – 2008 – 2012
Chart 23 – TELUS Mobility revenue, EBITDA – 2003 – 2011
Chart 24 – TELUS Mobility prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2009 – 2011
Chart 25 – SaskTel Mobility subscribers – 2007 – 2011
Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cables landing in Canada
Exhibit 2 – Example of major fibre project – the Alberta SuperNet
Exhibit 3 – Example of WiMAX developments – Barrett Xplore
Exhibit 4 – Toronto Hydro, Google and smart metering
Exhibit 5 – Toronto Hydro, Google and smart metering

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