Market Research Logo

Canada - Telecoms, Wireless, Broadband and Forecasts


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

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 wireless voice and data and the deployment of 3G and 4G technologies.
  • Key information on the major telecommunication operators.


BuddeComm’s Canada annual publication, Canada - Telecoms, Wireless, Broadband and Forecasts, 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 telecoms sector had become among the most advanced in the world in the early 2000s, by 2009 Canada’s performance in areas such as broadband penetration and wireless penetration started to lag behind its OECD counterparts. In addition, total telecom service revenue grew by a modest 5% during 2007, and final figures for 2008 are expected to be lower in light of the economic downturn.

  During 2008 the traditional fixed-line sector continued to shrink as subscribers increasingly switched to wireless, cable telephony and non facilities-based VoIP services. These trends had led to several regulatory reforms during 2007 which resulted in the CRTC issuing local exchange regulatory forbearance decisions throughout 2007 and 2008. By 2009 the CRTC had deregulated local exchanges covering more than 75% of residential lines and more than 65% of business lines across Canada.

  Despite slowing wireless subscriber growth, wireless revenues are being underpinned by strong wireless data revenue growth. Significantly, the decision by Bell Mobility and TELUS to invest in an estimated $1 billion GSM network will bring substantial benefits to wireless consumers from 2010.

  Key highlights:

  •       During 2008 overall telecom service revenues grew by an estimated 5% to approximately $40 billion. The majority of the growth was accounted for by the wireless and broadband sectors. In contrast, long-distance revenues fell by approximately 10%. It is estimated that for 2009, wireless and broadband together will account for over 60% of total telecom industry revenues.
  •          Competitors accounted for approximately 25% of telecommunication revenues. Cable companies, in particular, will continue to make significant inroads into local telephony markets as their cable telephony subscriber growth remains strong. By end-2009 it is estimated that cable telephony will account for close to 20% of total residential lines.
  •          Although wireless subscriber growth is forecast to be around 6-9% during 2009, wireless revenues are forecast to remain in double-digit growth, underpinned by growth in data services such as SMS and MMS.
  •          By 2009 around 95% of Canadian households with Internet access used broadband connections. However, in terms of overall broadband penetration, in the last six years Canada’s position in the OECD has slipped from second place to tenth place. In addition, in terms of prices, Canada’s broadband is ranked the third most expensive in the OECD.
  •          During 2007 and 2008 BCE negotiated to be acquired by Teachers Private Capital (the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the US-based private equity investment firms Providence Equity Partners Inc and Madison Dearborn Partners), in a transaction that was valued at around $50 billion. However, as a sign of the uncertainty created by the US financial crisis and the broader global economic downturn, the purchaser withdrew on the eve of the deal’s closure in December 2008.
  •         A significant outcome of the Advanced Wireless Services auction in 2008 was the decision by Bell Mobility and TELUS Mobility to jointly upgrade their networks to GSM. This was due partly to the decision to move to LTE as a 4G platform, but also due to the mandatory roaming agreements on which their new AWS licences are conditional.
  •          Such an upgrade will bring their networks in line with Rogers’ GSM network, will give customers greater choice of handsets and will lower the costs involved in switching between operators, thereby facilitating new entry as well as greater competition between the incumbents. The upgrade, estimated at $1 billion, will be shared between the two companies and will be a major development for the industry in 2010. In mid-2009 SaskTel announced that it too would upgrade to GSM and MTS Allstream is expected to follow suit.
  •          Despite strong growth in demand for digital TV services, and although IPTV is an essential service in order for the telcos to compete in the triple play market, the telcos have been relatively slow to deploy IPTV. By 2009 there were five IPTV providers in Canada, namely Aliant TV, Bell TV, MTS TV, SaskTel Max and Telus TV. Nevertheless the number of IPTV subscribers is estimated to be less than half-a-million.
  •          The rate of IPTV deployment will be greatly dependent on the rate of deployment of FttH and FttN networks. FttH is still largely limited to Greenfield MDU developments. In addition, Bell’s earlier FttN deployment targets of passing four million homes by 2008 have been pushed out to 2012. Moreover, following an unfavourable CRTC decision in 2009, Bell may opt to further delay its FttN deployment.
Forecast wireless subscribers, penetration and revenue growth - 2010; 2015
Year | Subscribers | Penetration | Revenue ($ billion) |
2010 | 24,800,000 | 73% | 19.3 |
2015 | 31,100,000 | 87% | 26.0 |
| (Source: BuddeComm)

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

  The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
  • This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
  •          The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
  •          All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.

1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Overview of Canada’s telecom market
2.2 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.2.1 National telecom network
2.2.2 International infrastructure
2.2.3 FttH and FttN
2.2.4 Cable HFC networks
2.3 Fixed-line sector
2.4 Broadband market
2.4.1 Overview
2.4.2 Cable modem and DSL
2.4.3 WiFi
2.4.4 WiMAX
2.4.5 Satellite
2.5 Internet and e-commerce
2.6 Convergence of digital media
2.6.1 Overview
2.6.2 Digital television (DTV)
2.6.3 TV-over-IP (IPTV)
2.6.4 Cable telephony and VoIP
2.7 Wireless communications
2.7.1 Penetration
2.7.2 Major operators
2.7.3 Wireless revenue drivers
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
3.2 CRTC and Industry Canada
3.3 Regulatory issues
3.3.1 Overview of broadcasting regulation
3.3.2 Digital TV regulation
3.3.3 Proposed regulatory reform
3.3.4 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
4. Major Telcos
4.1 Key highlights
4.2 Major ILECs
4.2.1 Overview
4.2.2 Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE)
4.2.3 TELUS Corporation
4.2.4 MTS Allstream
4.2.5 Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel)
4.2.6 VSNL International Canada (Formerly Teleglobe)
4.3 CLECs and other operators
4.3.1 Overview
4.3.2 Rogers Communications
4.3.3 Primus Telecommunications Canada
4.3.4 Look Communications
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.1.1 Overview
5.1.2 Wireline networks
5.1.3 Wireless networks
5.2 International infrastructure
5.2.1 Satellite networks
5.2.2 Submarine cable networks
5.3 Infrastructure developments
5.3.1 Overview
5.3.2 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
5.3.3 Cable networks
5.3.4 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
5.3.5 IP networks
5.3.6 Smart grid developments
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Industry overview and analysis
6.1.1 Broadband statistics
6.2 Cable modems
6.2.1 Overview and statistics
6.2.2 Major cable broadband providers
6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.3.1 Major DSL providers
6.4 Fibre-to-the-Home/Node
6.4.1 Overview
6.4.2 Major fibre projects
6.5 Broadband over Powerline (BPL)
6.6 Wireless broadband
6.6.1 WiFi
6.6.2 WiMAX
6.6.3 Satellite
7. Convergence
7.1 Key general trends
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 Consumer electronics
7.3.1 High Definition televisions
7.3.2 PVRs/DVRs
7.3.3 Mobile TV
8. Wireless Communications
8.1 Overview of Canada’s Wireless market
8.1.1 Wireless statistics
8.2 Analysis 2008/09
8.3 Regulatory overview
8.3.1 Spectrum licensing
8.3.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
8.3.3 Rural digital roaming
8.3.4 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 Long-term Evolution (LTE) wireless
8.4.5 WiMAX
8.5 Major wireless operators
8.5.1 Overview
8.5.2 Rogers Wireless
8.5.3 Bell Mobility
8.5.4 TELUS Mobility
8.5.5 SaskTel Mobility
8.5.6 MTS Allstream
8.6 Wireless services
8.6.1 Prepaid and postpaid services
8.6.2 Text messaging (SMS)
8.6.3 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
8.6.4 Mobile TV services
9. Forecasts
9.1 Forecasts - broadband subscribers to 2015
9.2 Forecasts - Internet services to 2018
9.3 Forecasts - wireless market to 2013
10. Glossary of Abbreviations
LIST OF TABLES AND EXHIBITS
Table 1 - Country statistics Canada - 2008
Table 2 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Telecom revenue distribution by market sector - 2008
Table 4 - Telecom revenue by category of provider - 2008
Table 5 - Fixed-line statistics - 2008
Table 6 - Major ISPs - 2008
Table 7 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 8 - Broadband statistics - 2008
Table 9 - Wireless statistics - 2008
Table 10 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 11 - Fixed line revenues - 2002 - 2008
Table 12 - Internet statistics - 2008
Table 13 - Internet revenues - 2001 - 2008
Table 14 - BCE operating revenue, net profit, CAPEX and subscribers - 2008
Table 15 - BCE revenue summary - 2004 - 2008
Table 16 - Bell Canada operating statistics per market segment - 2007 - 2008
Table 17 - Bell Canada wireless and video ARPU and churn rate - 2007 - 2008
Table 18 - Bell Aliant operating results and annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 19 - Bell Aliant operating revenue & annual change per market segment - 2007 - 2008
Table 20 - TELUS operating revenue, net profit, CAPEX and subscribers - 2004 - 2008
Table 21 - TELUS wireless monthly ARPU and churn rate - 2004 - 2008
Table 22 - TELUS operating results per market segment - 2007 - 2008
Table 23 - MTS Allstream financial data and customers - 2007 - 2008
Table 24 - MTS Allstream operating revenues by division - 2007 - 2008
Table 25 - MTS Allstream wireless monthly ARPU - 2007 - 2008
Table 26 - SaskTel financial data and annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 27 - SaskTel operational statistics - 2007 - 2008
Table 28 - SaskTel wireless monthly ARPU - 2004 - 2008
Table 29 - Rogers Communications operational statistics - 2007 - 2008
Table 30 - Rogers Cable stores, subscribers and households - 2002 - 2008
Table 31 - Rogers Cable financial data - 2002 - 2008
Table 32 - Rogers Wireless revenue, profit, CAPEX, and subscribers - 2002 - 2008
Table 33 - Rogers Wireless pre/postpaid subscribers, churn and ARPU - 2007 - 2008
Table 34 - Rogers Media revenue, operating profit and CAPEX - 2004 - 2008
Table 35 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2000 - 2008
Table 36 - Subscriber numbers of major cable telephony providers - 2005 - 2008
Table 37 - Residential broadband subscribers by technology - 2001 - 2008
Table 38 - Broadband penetration in top 10 OECD countries - 2001; 2006; 2008
Table 39 - Broadband penetration in G7 countries - 2004 - 2008
Table 40 - Cable modem subscribers by major operator - 2003 - 2008
Table 41 - Rogers Cable average Internet monthly ARPU - 2006 - 2008
Table 42 - DSL subscribers by major operator - 2004 - 2008
Table 43 - Total television and digital households - 2002 - 2008
Table 44 - Digital households: percentage by technology - 2003 - 2008
Table 45 - DTH & major cable company TV subscribers & market share - 2007 - 2008
Table 46 - Cable TV market operational overview - 2002 - 2008
Table 47 - DBS subscribers - 2001 - 2008
Table 48 - Wireless subscribers and annual change - 1997 - 2008
Table 49 - Wireless subscribers by major provider - 2004 - 2008
Table 50 - Wireless operator market share - 2006 - 2008
Table 51 - Wireless provider market share by province - 2007
Table 52 - Wireless industry revenue by service type - 2002 - 2007
Table 53 - Top 7 licence winners of 2300MHz & 3500MHz auctions - 2004 - 2005
Table 54 - Rogers Wireless pre/postpaid revenue and operating income - 2002 - 2008
Table 55 - Rogers Wireless pre & postpaid subscribers, churn & ARPU - 2007 - 2008
Table 56 - Bell Wireless revenue, subscribers, churn, ARPU, & annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 57 - TELUS Mobility revenue, EBITDA, penetration and coverage - 2003 - 2008
Table 58 - TELUS Mobility pre- & postpaid subscribers & annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 59 - TELUS Mobility ARPU and monthly churn rate - 2002 - 2008
Table 60 - SaskTel Mobility revenue, subscribers, ARPU & annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 61 - MTS Allstream wireless revenue, subscribers, ARPU & annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 62 - Prepaid subscribers by major operator - 2004 - 2008
Table 63 - Post- & prepaid wireless subscribers & annual change - 2007 - 2008
Table 64 - Text messages sent per month - 2002 - 2008
Table 65 - Forecast residential DSL, cable & other broadband subscribers - lower market growth scenario - 2010; 2015
Table 66 - Forecast residential DSL, cable & other broadband subscribers - higher market growth scenario - 2010; 2015
Table 67 - Forecast residential DSL, cable & other broadband subscribers - weaker market growth scenario - 2008; 2013; 2018
Table 68 - Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration & revenue - lower growth scenario - 2010; 2015
Table 69 - Forecast wireless subscriber, penetration & revenue - higher growth scenario - 2010; 2015


Exhibit 1 - Definition: ADSL and VDSL
Exhibit 2 - Telesat current and planned fleet of satellites
Exhibit 3 - Major submarine cables landing in Canada
Exhibit 4 - Definition: FttH/FttP/FttB and FttN/FttC
Exhibit 5 - Major fibre projects in operation
Exhibit 6 - Definition: HFC cable
Exhibit 7 - Major cable telephony and VoIP providers in Canada
Exhibit 8 - Toronto Hydro, Google and smart metering
Exhibit 9 - CANARIE Corporation
Exhibit 10 - City WiFi - Toronto’s OneZone Wireless network
Exhibit 11 - The Alberta SuperNet
Exhibit 12 - Major IPTV providers
Exhibit 13 - Major cable TV providers
Exhibit 14 - Satellite TV providers
Exhibit 15 - iTV service developments
Exhibit 16 - VoD providers
Exhibit 17 - 3G licence awards - January 2001

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report