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Canada - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 27 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 163

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Canada’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- August 2018 (14th Edition)

Executive Summary

Canada consults on a range of spectrum assets for 5G use

The Canadian telecom market continues to show steady development as operators invest in network upgrades. Much of this work is being supported by regulatory efforts to ensure that operators have spectrum available to develop 5G services, for which a several auctions are planned between 2019 and 2024. Assigning and releasing spectrum for 5G will allay existing fears that the country could lag developments in the US and Europe. In addition, the regulator has set aside a portion of certain spectrum for new entrants to encourage competition in the wireless segment. Much of the investment among telcos has been channelled into LTE infrastructure to capitalise of consumer demand for mobile data services, while there has also been further investment in 5G.

There has also been a concentration of investment in fixed-line infrastructure, focussed on FttP and, among cable broadband providers, upgrades to the DOCSIS3.1 standard. This is having the effect that the DSL segment is beginning to lose market share as customers are migrated to fibre.

At the same time, fixed-line telephony services are dwindling as customers make greater use of mobile networks and VoIP options. Revenue from the broadband and mobile sectors is underpinning overall telecom sector revenue while the fixed-voice sector continues to decline.

Canada’s broadband penetration rate is several percentage points above the OECD average. Government policy has encouraged the extension of broadband to rural and regional areas, with the result that services are almost universally available and the emphasis now is on improving service speeds to enable the entire population to benefit from the digital economy and society. Cable broadband is the principal access platform, followed by DSL. The main cablecos are upgrading their networks to the DOCSIS3.1 standard, which can deliver data at 1Gb/s and above. Fibre deployments are also gaining momentum, with a growing number of Gigabit towns now connected.

The mobile penetration rate remains comparatively low by international standards, and so the market offers further room for growth. Canadians are well provided for LTE and LTE-A infrastructure. Despite topographical challenges and the remoteness of many areas, the major players effectively offer 99% population coverage with LTE. In the 5G segment, Telus and Bell Wireless were early triallists, followed by Shaw Communications in May 2018.

The government has endeavoured to encourage market competition by ensuring that blocks of spectrum have been reserved for new entrants, while preventing deals among operators which would have concentrated spectrum either regionally or nationally. About 43% of spectrum to be auctioned in the 600MHz band has been reserved for smaller operators in a bid to encourage competition.

This report provides a broad range of key statistical data on the major telecoms segments, as well as developments in e-commerce and e-health and policies which support the adoption of smart meters and the progress of smart grids. It provides an overview of each major sector, an analysis of market developments and an assessment of operator strategies. The report also covers the mobile voice and data markets, as well as the fixed-line and fixed-wireless broadband sectors.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • SaskPower and SaskEnergy install smart meters and upgraded gas meters;
  • Shaw doubles broadband data rate to 300Mb/s via DOCSIS3.1;
  • SaskTel opens its first Tier 3 data centre, invests in Northern Fibre Expansion project;
  • Regulator opens consultation on managing a planned $750 million broadband fund for rural and underserved areas;
  • Vidéotron extends DOCSIS3.1 service;
  • Bell Canada to invest $854 million to deliver Gigabit fibre to Montreal;
  • Ontario Broadband Project developments;
  • Eastlink launches 200Mb/s broadband service;
  • OneGigabit launches in Vancouver;
  • Shaw completes 5G trials;
  • Government sets up $400 million public-private partnership to exploit benefits of 5G;
  • Auction for residual 2500MHz licenses completed;
  • Bell Wireless launches quad band LTE-A services offering peak data rates of up to 950Mb/s, develops an LTE-M network to support IoT devices
  • Government opens consultation on 600MHz auction, expected in 2019;
  • Report updates include the regulator's market data report for 2017, telcos' operating data to Q2 2018, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile Canada, Telus Mobility, SaskTel Mobility, MTS Allstream, Freedom Mobile, Mobilicity, Public Mobile, Vidéotron Wireless, Shaw Communications, Bell Canada, Bell Aliant, BOLDstreet Wireless, Tadaa Wireless, DoDo Wireless, Hotspotzz, Wayport, Boingo, FatPort, Rogers Communications, Craig Wireless System, Barrett Xplore, I-NetLink, SaskTel, Vidéotron, Shaw Cablesystems, Rogers Cable Communications, Cogeco Cable.

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