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2008 Canada - Telecoms, Wireless and Broadband

For those seeking high level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • Forecast growth in select telecommunication markets.
  • The emerging trends and convergence in Canadian voice, broadband and digital TV sectors.
  • How Canada is faring in terms of global broadband development.
  • The current and emerging broadband technologies and their long-term projections.
  • The growth of mobile voice and data and the deployment of 3G and 4G technologies.
  • Key information on the major telecommunication operators.
  • Researcher: Lawrence Baker
Edition: 6th


BuddeComm’s Annual Publication, ‘2008 Telecoms, Wireless and Broadband in Canada’, profiles the fixed-line, wireless (mobile) and broadband markets in Canada. The publication also examines the convergence of these technologies with each other and with digital media such as digital TV and the emergence of new telecommunication services such as VoIP.

Although Canada’s telecommunications sector has been among the most advanced in the world, between 2000 and 2007 Canada’s performance in areas such as broadband penetration and wireless penetration started to lag behind its OECD counterparts. In addition, total telecom service revenues grew by a modest 5% during 2006, with final figures for 2007 expected to be little different. During 2007 the traditional fixed line sector continued to shrink as subscribers increasingly switched to wireless and VoIP services. These trends have led to calls for a lighter-handed regulatory framework. Accordingly, several regulatory reforms were legislated during 2007 which resulted in the CRTC issuing regulatory forbearance decisions in relation to numerous local residential fixed-line markets across Canada.

Despite slowing wireless subscriber growth, wireless revenues are being underpinned by strong wireless data revenue growth. The wireless market is expected to receive additional competition in 2008, given the pro-competitive rules proposed for the upcoming Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) auction. In terms of triple play developments, cable companies continue to enjoy robust growth in VoIP in contrast to the relatively tentative moves of the telcos into the broadcasting (IPTV) sector. Finally, further deregulation in telecommunication, broadcasting and new media markets is expected during 2008 and 2009, including possible loosening of Canada’s foreign investment restrictions.

Key highlights:

  • For 2006, overall telecom service revenues grew 4.5% to $36 billion. The majority of the growth was accounted for by the wireless (15% growth) and broadband (18% growth) sectors. In contrast, long distance revenues fell by 7%. It is estimated that for 2007, wireless and broadband together accounted for over 50% of total telecom industry revenues.
  • Competitors accounted for over 14% of residential local lines by the end of 2006, up from 8% in 2005, and for 16% of business lines. Cable companies in particular made significant inroads into local telephony markets, securing approximately 12% of total residential lines.
  • Despite strong growth in wireless revenues, the growth in wireless subscribers continued its downward trend into single figures (9%) for the year to 30 September 2007. Compared to other OECD countries, wireless penetration is a modest 60%, leaving significant room for growth. However, the main revenue drivers are expected to come from data services such as SMS and MMS. For more information, see chapter 8, page 88.
  • By mid-2007 more than 85% of Canadian households with Internet access used broadband connections. However, in terms of overall broadband penetration, Canada’s position in the OECD has slipped from second place in 2002 to ninth place in 2006. For more information, see chapter 6, page 50.
  • In late 2007, six months after BCE first announced the sale of its satellite subsidiary Telesat Canada to a joint venture company formed between US-based Loral Space & Communications and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board, Industry Canada approved the acquisition.
  • On 30 June 2007 BCE reached agreement to be acquired by Teachers Private Capital, in an all-cash transaction valued at around $50 billion. Teachers Private Capital is the private investment entity of a group comprising the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the US-based private equity investment firms Providence Equity Partners Inc and Madison Dearborn Partners. The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-2008.
  • The CRTC proposed rules for the upcoming 2008 AWS auction which are designed to, and expected to, facilitate new entry. For instance, it has been proposed to set aside some spectrum for new entrants only. Ironically, the pro-competitive rules has reignited speculation of a Bell-TELUS merger. For more information, see chapter 8.3.3.6, page 93.
  • VoIP continued to grow rapidly during 2006 and 2007. The combined cable digital telephony subscribers of Vidéotron Ltée, Rogers, Shaw Cablesystems and Cogeco increased from around 200,000 at the end of 2005 to around one million by the end of 2006, and to over 1.6 million by September 2007.
  • Growth in digital TV services has been slower than initially predicted. Subscriber numbers increased by only 10% per annum in both 2006 and in the nine months to 30 September 2007. Nevertheless, VoD is expected to become an increasingly important source of revenue for many of the major cable operators. By late 2007 around 45% of digital cable subscribers were using VoD, up from around 10% in 2002. For more information, see chapter 7.2, page 73.
Forecast wireless subscribers, penetration and revenue growth - 2008 - 2013
Year Subscribers Penetration Revenue ($ billion)
2008 21,300,000 64% 16.6
2009 23,200,000 69% 19.0
2010 25,300,000 74% 21.6
2011 27,600,000 80% 24.6
2012 30,100,000 86% 28.1
2013 32,800,000 93% 32.0
(Source: BuddeComm estimates)

1. Key statistics
2. Telecommunications Markets
2.1 Overview of Canada’s telecom market
2.1.1 Monopoly to competition
2.1.2 Convergence
2.1.3 Teledensity
2.1.4 Industry performance
2.2 Fixed line sector
2.3 Internet and e-commerce
2.4 Broadband sector
2.5 Wireless sector
2.6 Broadcasting sector
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
3.1.1 Industry Canada
3.1.2 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
3.1.3 Institutional reform
3.1.4 Liberalisation
3.1.5 Satellite and submarine cables
3.2 VoIP regulation
3.3 Wireless number portability
3.4 Local telephone regulation
3.4.1 Local forbearance
3.4.2 Price Cap 3
3.5 Foreign ownership controls
3.6 Broadcasting regulatory reform
4. Telecommunications Infrastructure
4.1 National telecom network
4.1.1 Overview
4.1.2 Wireline networks
4.1.3 Wireless networks
4.2 International infrastructure
4.2.1 Satellite networks
4.2.2 Submarine cable networks
4.3 Infrastructure developments
4.3.1 Overview
4.3.2 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
4.3.3 Cable networks
4.3.4 Broadband over Powerline (BPL)
4.3.5 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
4.3.6 IP networks
5. Major Telcos - Overview and Statistics
5.1 Key highlights
5.2 Industry structure
5.2.1 Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs)
5.2.2 Registered Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs)
5.2.3 Growing competition
5.3 Major ILECs
5.3.1 Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE)
5.3.2 TELUS Corporation
5.3.3 Manitoba Telecom Services
5.3.4 Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel)
5.3.5 VSNL International Canada (Formerly Teleglobe)
5.4 CLECs and other operators
5.4.1 Overview
5.4.2 Rogers Communications
5.4.3 Primus Telecommunications Canada
5.4.4 Look Communications
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Industry overview and analysis
6.1.1 Government strategy
6.1.2 Regulatory reform
6.1.3 CANARIE Corporation
6.1.4 Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)
6.2 Broadband statistics
6.3 Cable modems
6.3.1 Overview and statistics
6.3.2 Major cable broadband providers
6.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.4.1 Major Broadband DSL Providers
6.5 Fibre-to-the-Home/Node (FttH/FttN)
6.5.1 Overview
6.5.2 Major fibre projects
6.6 Broadband over Power line (BPL)
6.6.1 Overview
6.6.2 BPL Regulation
6.6.3 UPLC and UTC Canada
6.7 Wireless broadband
6.7.1 Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)
6.7.2 WiFi
6.7.3 WiMAX
6.7.4 Internet via satellite
7. Convergence
7.1 Key general trends
7.1.1 Regulatory issues
7.2 Digital TV (DTV)
7.2.1 Overview
7.2.2 Market statistics
7.2.3 TV-over-IP (IPTV)
7.2.4 Cable TV (CATV)
7.2.5 Satellite TV (DTH)
7.2.6 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
7.3 VoIP
7.4 Consumer electronics
7.4.1 High Definition televisions
7.4.2 PVRs/DVRs
7.4.3 Mobile TV
8. Wireless Communications
8.1 Analysis
8.2 Overview of Canada’s Wireless market
8.2.1 Introduction
8.2.2 Wireless statistics
8.3 Regulatory overview
8.3.1 CRTC and Industry Canada
8.3.2 Telecom Policy Review
8.3.3 Spectrum licensing
8.3.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
8.3.5 Rural digital roaming
8.3.6 System access fees
8.4 Wireless technologies
8.4.1 Personal Communications Services (PCS)
8.4.2 GSM
8.4.3 Third Generation (3G) wireless
8.4.4 WiFi and WiMAX
8.5 Major wireless operators
8.5.1 Overview
8.5.2 Rogers Wireless
8.5.3 Bell Mobility
8.5.4 Bell Aliant
8.5.5 TELUS Mobility
8.5.6 SaskTel Mobility
8.5.7 MTS Allstream
8.5.8 Virgin Mobile Canada
8.6 Wireless services
8.6.1 Prepaid and postpaid services
8.6.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
8.6.3 Multimedia messaging (MMS)
8.6.4 Mobile TV services
9. Forecasts
9.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
9.2 Forecasts - Internet services to 2018
9.3 Forecasts - wireless market to 2018
10. Glossary of Abbreviations

List of tables

Table 1 - Country statistics Canada - 2008
Table 2 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2007
Table 3 - Telecom revenue distribution by market sector - 2007
Table 4 - Telecom revenue by category of provider - 2006
Table 5 - Fixed line statistics - 2007
Table 6 - Major ISPs - 2007
Table 7 - Internet user statistics - 2007
Table 8 - Broadband statistics - 2007
Table 9 - Wireless statistics - 2007
Table 10 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 11 - Canadian teledensity - 2000 - 2007
Table 12 - Services revenues by operator type - 2001 - 2006
Table 13 - Operating revenues by segment - 2002 - 2006
Table 14 - Revenue growth by segment - 2005 - 2006
Table 15 - Fixed line revenues - 2002 - 2007
Table 16 - Internet statistics - 2007
Table 17 - Internet revenues - 2001 - 2007
Table 18 - DSL and cable broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 19 - Wireless subscribers and annual change - 1997 - 2007
Table 20 - Wireless revenues - 2001 - 2007
Table 21 - Wireless subscribers by major provider - 2004 - 2007
Table 22 - Cable, DTH & MDS subscribers - 2002 - 2007
Table 23 - Cable, DTH & MDS revenues - 2002 - 2006
Table 24 - Subscriber numbers by broadcaster - 2004 - 2007
Table 25 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2007
Table 26 - VoIP subscribers of major cable companies - 2005 - 2007
Table 27 - BCE ownership (percentage) - December 2007
Table 28 - BCE operating revenue, net profit, CAPEX and subscribers - 2007
Table 29 - BCE revenue summary - 1997 - 2007
Table 30 - Bell Canada operating statistics per market segment - 2006 - 2007
Table 31 - Bell Canada wireless and video ARPU and churn - 2006 - 2007
Table 32 - Bell Aliant operating results and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 33 - Bell Aliant operating revenue and annual change per market segment - 2006 - 2007
Table 34 - TELUS operating revenue, net profit, CAPEX and subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 35 - TELUS wireless ARPU and Churn - 2001 - 2007
Table 36 - TELUS operating results and annual change per market segment - 2006 - 2007
Table 37 - MTS Allstream operating revenue, CAPEX, customers & annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 38 - MTS Allstream operating revenues and annual change by division - 2006 - 2007
Table 39 - MTS Allstream wireless monthly ARPU - 2006 - 2007
Table 40 - SaskTel operating revenue, net income, CAPEX and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 41 - SaskTel operating results - 2005 - 2006
Table 42 - SaskTel wireless monthly ARPU - 2004 - 2006
Table 43 - Rogers Communications operating revenue & profit, subscribers and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 44 - Rogers Cable revenue, profit, CAPEX, stores and subscribers - 2002 - 2007
Table 45 - Rogers Wireless revenue, profit, CAPEX, subscribers and coverage - 2002 - 2007
Table 46 - Rogers Wireless pre and postpaid subscribers, churn, ARPU and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 47 - Rogers Media revenue, operating profit and CAPEX - 2002 - 2007
Table 48 - Residential broadband Internet subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 49 - Broadband subscribers and penetration in top 9 OECD countries - 2001; 2006 - 2007
Table 50 - Broadband penetration among Internet households in various countries - 2003 - 2007
Table 51 - Cable modem subscribers by major operator - 2003 - 2007
Table 52 - Rogers Cable average Internet monthly ARPU - 2006 - 2007
Table 53 - DSL subscribers by major operator - 2003 - 2007
Table 54 - Total television and digital households - 2002 - 2007
Table 55 - Digital households: percentage by technology - 2003 - 2007
Table 56 - DTH and major cable company subscribers and market share - 2006 - 2007
Table 57 - Number of HD services, foreign and Canadian by operator - 2006
Table 58 - Cable TV market operational overview - 2002 - 2007
Table 59 - Rogers Cable operational overview per market segment - 2001 - 2007
Table 60 - Shaw Cablesystems subscribers, customers and lines per market segment - 2002 - 2007
Table 61 - Vidéotron ltée subscriber statistics - 2003 - 2007
Table 62 - Cogeco Cable subscriber statistics - 2002 - 2007
Table 63 - DBS subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 64 - Bell ExpressVu DTH subscribers - 1998 - 2007
Table 65 - Star Choice digital TV subscribers - 1998 - 2007
Table 66 - VoIP subscribers by major cable companies - 2005 - 2007
Table 67 - Wireless subscribers and annual change - 1997 - 2007
Table 68 - Wireless subscribers by major provider - 2004 - 2007
Table 69 - Wireless provider market share by province - 2006
Table 70 - Wireless industry revenue by service type - 2002 - 2006
Table 71 - Top 7 licence winners of 2300MHz & 3500MHz auctions - 2004 - 2005
Table 72 - Rogers Wireless pre/postpaid revenue and operating income - 2002 - 2007
Table 73 - Rogers Wireless pre/postpaid subscriber, churn, ARPU and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 74 - Bell Mobility revenue, subscribers, churn and ARPU and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 75 - TELUS Mobility revenue, EBITDA, penetration and coverage - 2002 - 2007
Table 76 - TELUS Mobility prepaid, postpaid subscribers and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 77 - TELUS Mobility ARPU and monthly churn rate - 2001 - 2007
Table 78 - SaskTel Mobility revenue, subscribers, ARPU and annual change - 2005 - 2006
Table 79 - MTS Allstream wireless revenue, subscribers, ARPU and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 80 - Prepaid subscribers by major operator - 2004 - 2007
Table 81 - Postpaid and prepaid wireless subscribers and annual change - 2006 - 2007
Table 82 - Text messages sent per month - 2002 - 2007
Table 83 - Forecast residential DSL, cable and other broadband subscribers - weaker market growth scenario - 2008; 2013; 2018
Table 84 - Forecast residential DSL, cable and other broadband subscribers - stronger market growth scenario - 2008; 2013; 2018
Table 85 - Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration and revenue growth - weaker growth scenario - 2008 - 2013
Table 86 - Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration and revenue growth - stronger growth scenario - 2008 - 2013


List of Exhibites


Exhibit 1 - Definitions - ADSL, HFC Cable, FttP/FttB/FttH
Exhibit 2 - Definition - ADSL and VDSL
Exhibit 3 - Telesat’s current and planned fleet of satellites
Exhibit 4 - Major submarine cables landing in Canada
Exhibit 5 - Definition - FttH/FttP/FttB and FttN/FttC
Exhibit 6 - Major Fibre Projects in operation
Exhibit 7 - Definition - HFC cable
Exhibit 8 - Major VoIP providers in Canada
Exhibit 9 - The Alberta SuperNet
Exhibit 10 - MTS Allstream’s IPTV platform
Exhibit 11 - iTV developments
Exhibit 12 - VoD developments
Exhibit 13 - 3G licence awards - January 2001

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