Communications Monitoring Report 2016: Telecommunications sector overview

5.0 Telecommunications sector overview

Infographic summarizing section 5.0 – Telecommunications sector overview
Infographic summarizing section 5.0 – Telecommunications sector overview
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the telecommunications sector and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the wireless: 49%, wireline voice: 20%, Internet: 21%, and data and private line: 10% revenues as a percentage of total telecommunications revenues in 2015. Total telecommunications revenues were $47.8 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $47.8 billion, an increase of 4.1% over 2014. Third indicator: capital expenditures: $13.3 billion, an increase of 8.9% over 2014. Fourth indicator: revenue share of the top 5 companies: 84%. Fifth indicator: telecommunications earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA): 39.8%.

Canada’s telecommunications industry consists of six sectors: local, long distance, Internet, wireless, data, and private line. The two largest sectors combined, Internet and wireless, have grown by more than $7.1 billion or 27.0% since 2011 and accounted for more than 61.6% of total telecommunications revenues in 2011 and 70.0% in 2015. Over the same five year period, wireline voice service revenues have shown steady declines, representing 20.3% of total telecommunications revenues in 2015 compared to 28% in 2011.

In 2015, Canadian telecommunications revenues reached $47.8 billion, with the vast majority (92%) derived from retail services and the balance (8%) from the wholesale sector. Service providers supplied retail services to over 12 million households, one million businesses, and, through the wholesale market, 800 other telecommunications entities.

Large incumbent TSPs captured over 61% of industry revenues. Their main group of competitors, cable-based carriers, reported 31% of revenues and 8% of the total number of companies. Resellers comprised nearly 68% of service providers but only 4% of revenues. These enterprises generally acquire wholesale services from incumbent TSPs and/or cable-based carriers to provide telecommunications services to their own customers.

i) Revenues

Table 5.0.1 Telecommunications revenues (retail and wholesale) ($ billions)
Sector Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireline Retail 20.6 20.6 20.9 21.2 21.4 0.7 0.9
Wholesale 3.0 2.9 2.8 2.7 2.8 2.1 -1.8
Wireline total 23.6 23.5 23.7 24.0 24.2 0.8 -0.5
Wireless Retail 18.4 19.5 20.2 20.9 22.5 7.5 5.2
Wholesale 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.1 8.1 11.8
Wireless total 19.1 20.4 21.2 22.0 23.6 7.6 5.4
Total Retail 39.0 40.2 41.1 42.2 43.9 4.1 3.0
Wholesale 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.8 1.3
Total 42.8 43.9 44.8 45.9 47.8 4.1 2.8

Source: CRTC data collection

Revenues from telecommunications services are derived from sales to residential and business consumers (retail revenues) and to other carriers (wholesale revenues). The table displays retail and wholesale revenues for wireline and wireless services for the years 2011 to 2015.

Estimates were made to capture revenues of service providers that did not provide data. In 2015, these estimates were less than 1% of total telecommunications revenues. Revenues derived from the sale and rental of local and access terminal equipment and other non-telecommunications revenues were excluded from wireline retail service revenues.

Table 5.0.2 Telecommunications revenue distribution by region ($ billions)
Region 2014 2015 Percentage of total (%) Growth (%) 2014-2015
Atlantic 3.1 3.2 6.8 5.0
BC and Territories 6.3 6.6 13.9 5.6
Ontario 18.2 18.7 39.0 2.5
Prairies 9.5 10.0 20.9 5.8
Québec 8.9 9.3 19.4 4.0

Source: CRTC data collection

Estimates were made for companies that were not required to provide provincial and territorial telecommunications data.

ii) Forbearance

In 2015, approximately 95% of telecommunications revenues were from services that the Commission has determined are sufficiently competitive that tariff filings are no longer required.

Forbearance:

The Commission refrains from regulation when it finds that a service is subject to sufficient competition or where refraining is consistent with the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives. This is referred to as forbearance. Where a service is forborne it is generally relieved of the obligation of a Commission-approved tariff. Other aspects of the service may still be regulated.

Table 5.0.3 Percentage (%) of telecommunications revenues generated by forborne services
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Local and access 76 77 78 79 80
Long distance 95 99 99 98 98
Internet 98 98 97 96 96
Data and private line 83 84 84 89 89
Wireless 100 100 100 100 100
Overall 93 93 94 94 95

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the percentage of telecommunications revenues by market sector that are not regulated by the CRTC from 2011 to 2015. With respect to the local and access market sector, ‘access’ refers to wireline services that provide telecommunications services access to the subscriber or the telecommunications network.

iii) Canadian Ownership

Section 16 of the Telecommunications Act addresses the eligibility of Canadian carriers to operate as telecommunications common carriers. For the purposes of applying the provisions of section 16, the Commission has determined that, for the period between the date of release of the 2015 Communications Monitoring Report and the date of release of the 2016 edition, the total annual revenues from the provision of telecommunications services in Canada is $47.8 billion.

What does section 16 of the Telecommunications Act require?

Subject to certain exceptions, section 16 requires that telecommunications companies that own or operate telecommunication transmission equipment and have Canadian telecommunications revenues greater than $4.8 billion (i.e. 10% of total Canadian telecommunications revenues) be Canadian owned and controlled.

iv) Number, size, and type of companies

Figure 5.0.1 Percentage of telecommunications revenues, by type of TSP, 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.0.1: Percent of telecommunications revenues, by type of TSP, 2015
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This is a bar chart that shows the various types of telecommunications service providers’ revenue share and the total number of providers as a percent of total number of industry providers of telecommunication services in 2015. There are five types of service providers in this bar chart. Large incumbent TSPs: 61%, 1%; Small incumbent TSPs: 1%, 4%; Cable-based carriers: 31%, 8%; Other facilities-based service providers: 3%, 19%; Resellers: 4%, 68%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This graph displays the percentage of total revenues captured by type of provider of telecommunications services and the percentage of providers offering service.

The incumbent TSP data displayed above includes revenues from all of their Canadian telecommunications operations, both inside and outside of their traditional operating territory.

Providers of telecommunications services provide diverse information and communications technology (ICT) services, ranging from voice and data telecommunications services to data storage and cloud computing, and other services encompassing both Canadian and non-Canadian activities. In 2015, 59% of revenues were from telecommunications services provided to Canadians. The remaining 41% were from other ICT services, broadcasting distribution services, and non-telecommunications services such as floor space rental services and fleet operations.

The industry is dominated by 10 large companies that collectively, with their affiliates, accounted for 93% of Canadian telecommunications revenues in 2015. The remaining companies accounted for less than $3.3 billion of these revenues.

Figure 5.0.2 Percent of total telecommunications revenues by ownership groups (%)

Bar chart of Figure 5.0.2: Percentage of total telecommunications revenues by ownership group (%)
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This bar chart shows telecommunications revenues for the top 5 group of companies, the next top 5 group of companies and the remaining companies between 2013 and 2015. Top 5 companies: 83%, 83% and 84%; Next 5 companies: 9%, 9% and 9%; Remaining companies: 8%, 7% and 7%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Group Bell, Group Québecor, Group Rogers, Group Shaw, and Group TELUS are Canada’s five largest providers of telecommunications services. Combined, including their affiliates, they accounted for 84% of total market revenues. The next five largest groups/entities accounted for 9% of total market revenues. The remaining groups/entities captured 7%.

The top 10 groups/entities are facilities-based service providers, meaning that they own and operate the transmission equipment required to provide telecommunications services. Of the remaining groups/entities, the vast majority are resellers.

Providers of telecommunication service are classified as either incumbent TSPs or alternative service providers. The alternative providers consist of resellers and other facilities-based service providers, which include cable-based carriers.

Incumbent TSPs are the traditional telephone companies. For monitoring purposes, this group of TSPs is further subdivided in to large and small incumbent TSPs. Additional details on the classifications of providers of telecommunications services can be found in Appendix 8.

The incumbent TSPs’ revenues have increased at an average annual rate of 1.8% over the 2011 to 2015 period. Over the same period, revenues for alternative providers of telecommunications service, including resellers, grew 4.7% annually. Overall, the facilities-based alternative service providers have experienced the strongest growth in telecommunications revenues, which increased 21%, from $13.6 billion in 2011 to $16.4 billion in 2015.

Table 5.0.4 Total telecommunications revenues, by type of service provider ($ millions)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs Large incumbent TSPs 27,205.0 27,478.5 27,818.4 28,432.3 29,193.2 2.7 1.8
Small incumbent TSPs 469.9 474.4 450.4 448.1 471.2 5.2 0.1
Subtotal 27,674.9 27,953.0 28,268.8 28,880.4 29,664.4 2.7 1.8
Percent of total (%) 65 64 63 63 62 - -
Alternative service providers Cable-based carriers 12,722.1 13,260.2 13,785.5 14,204.1 14,976.7 5.4 4.2
Other carriers 866.8 1,161.5 1,226.0 1,247.3 1,486.2 19.2 14.4
Facilities-based subtotal 13,589 14,421.7 15,011.6 15,451.4 16,462.9 6.5 4.9
Resellers 1,493.4 1,527.7 1,542.0 1,585.5 1,647.8 3.9 2.9
Subtotal 15,082.3 15,949.3 16,553.5 17,036.9 18,137.1 6.5 4.7
Percent of total (%) 35 36 37 37 38 - -
Total All 42,757.2 43,902.3 44,822.3 45,917.3 47,801.5 4.1 2.8

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays telecommunications revenues by type of TSP for the years 2011 to 2015. The out-of-territory revenues generated by large incumbent TSPs are no longer reported separately in this table, instead, these revenues are included in the incumbent TSPs total revenues.

v) Financial performance

There are a number of elements to consider in assessing a company’s financial performance or profitability. One of these is EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) as a percentage of total revenue (margins).

Figure 5.0.3 Telecommunications revenues and EBITDA margins

Line chart of Figure 5.0.3: Telecommunications revenues and EBITDA margins
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This line clustered column chart on two axes shows the wireline, wireless and total telecom revenues in billions of dollars and wireline and wireless EBITDA margins for each year between 2013 and 2015. Wireline revenues: 23.7, 24.0 and 24.2; Wireless revenues: 21.2, 22.0 and 23.6; Wireline EBITDA margins: 32.9%, 33.7% and 35.0%; Wireless EBITDA margins: 43.3%, 40.6% and 44.6%; Telecommunications total revenues: 44.8, 45.9 and 47.8; Total telecommunications EBITDA margins: 37.7%, 37.0% and 39.8%.

Source: CRTC data collection

The EBITDA margins are calculated for TSPs that had telecommunications revenues greater than 80% of their total revenues.

This figure shows the total growth in telecommunications revenues from wireless and wireline services between 2013 and 2015. It also shows the EBITDA margins in percentages for wireless, wireline, and total telecommunications.

Non facilities-based alternative service providers (i.e., resellers) generally had a lower EBITDA margin. In 2015, contrary to previous years, the EBITDA margin for other service providers, those that were neither cable-based or traditional telephone companies, was similar to that of facilities-based service provider’s margin. This was due to some companies reporting extraordinary accounting items in their income statement. Excluding extraordinary items used to calculate EBITDA margins, on average, non facilities-based alternative service provider’s EBITDA margins were approximately one quarter that of facilities-based service providers. The overall EBITDA margins have increased for both wireline and wireless by 1.3% and 4.0%, respectively. Total revenues have also increased overall; a difference of $1.9 billion in total telecommunications is apparent in the figure above.

Figure 5.0.4 Percentage of total revenues by size of entity and their respective EBITDA margins, 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.0.4: Percentage of total revenues by size of entity and their respective EBITDA margins, 2015
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the EBITDA margins of Canadian telecommunications entities whose telecommunications revenues were greater than 80% of their Canadian operating revenues and had revenues in one of the three revenue ranges in 2015. Percent of revenues and EBITDA margins by entities with revenues greater than $100: 97.3%, 40.4%; between $10 and $100 millions: 2.0%, 14.8%; between $1 and $10 million: 0.6%, 17.2%.

Source: CRTC data collection

The percentage of revenues and profitability are calculated for TSPs that had telecommunications revenues greater than 80% of their total revenues to ensure proper representation of the telecommunications sector.

These companies were subdivided into three telecommunications revenue ranges: $1-$10 million, $10-$100 million, and greater than $100 million.

The collective EBITDA margin of companies with Canadian telecommunications revenues greater than 80% of their total revenues was 39.8%. As displayed above, companies with revenues in excess of $100 million displayed the highest EBITDA margin, 40.4%. Companies with telecommunications revenues between $10 million and $100 million collectively had a 14.8 % EBITDA margin and those between $1 and $10 million had a 17.2% margin. Note, those companies with telecommunications revenues between $1 and $10 million had the largest drop in revenues of $4.6 million.

vi) Annual investment in plant and equipment

“Annual investment in plant and equipment” refers to the capital expenditures made to ‘replenish’ or upgrade the network of a provider of telecommunications services. In 2015, TSPs (with over $100 million in revenues) spent $13.3 billion on capital expenditures of which 38% were for access services and 15% were network related. The remaining 47% related to spectrum and non-network activities such as billing and fleet operations.

Table 5.0.5 Telecommunications investments made in plant and equipment, by type of provider of telecommunications service ($ billions)
Sector Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireline Incumbent TSPs All 4.6 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.2 7.3 2.8
Alternative service providers Other facilities-based service providers (including cable-based carriers) 2.4 2.3 1.9 2.3 3.1 33.6 5.9
Resellers 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.02 -14.2 -4.3
Subtotal 2.5 2.4 2.0 2.3 3.1 33.1 5.8
Total All 7.1 7.1 6.9 7.1 8.2 15.7 3.8
Wireless Total All 2.5 2.6 2.3 7.5 5.1 -32.2 20.0
Total Total All 9.6 9.7 9.2 14.7 13.3 -8.9 8.7

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the investments made by type of TSP for the period between 2011 and 2015.

The data for the incumbent TSPs includes their out-of-territory operations. The table also excludes TSPs with revenues less than $100 million, who are not required to provide this data.

The data above include expenditures made to acquire spectrum. In 2014, wireless expenditures increased significantly due to the sale of the 700 MHz spectrum held by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). In 2015, the sale of the 2500 MHz and AWS-3 spectrum helped boost wireless expenditures.

Since 2011, incumbent TSPs reported on average 43% of the capital expenditures. Resellers had the least amount of capital expenditures since they use the transmission facilities of others.

A useful measure to compare annual capital expenditures is “capital intensity.” Under this measure, cable-based carriers and other facilities-based service providers spent on average 34 cents from every revenue dollar over the past three years on wireline facilities compared to 33 cents by the incumbent TSPs.

Figure 5.0.5 Telecommunications capital expenditures as a percentage of revenues, by type of TSP

Line chart of Figure 5.0.5: Telecommunications capital expenditures as a percentage of revenues, by type of TSP
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This line chart shows the capital expenditures as a percentage of revenues by type of TSP for each year between 2011 and 2015. There are three types of TSPs in this line chart. Wireless providers: 13%, 13%, 11%, 35%, 22%; Incumbent TSPs: 28%, 30%, 33%, 32%, 35%; Cable-based carriers and other facilities-based service providers: 41%, 37%, 27%, 32%, 43%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This figure shows the capital intensity of TSPs for the period between 2011 and 2015.

In 2014, wireless expenditures increased significantly due to the sale of the 700 MHz spectrum held by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). In 2015, the sale of the 2500 MHz and AWS-3 spectrum helped boost wireless expenditures. TSPs with revenues less than $100 million are not included as these companies were not required to provide this data.

Capital intensity

Capital intensity is a measure of the degree or level a company spends on its plant and equipment. It is derived by dividing annual capital expenditures by annual revenues, expressed as a percentage.

5.1 Telecommunications retail sectors

Infographic summarizing section 5.1 - Telecommunications retail sectors
Infographic summarizing section 5.1 - Telecommunications retail sectors
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This infographic presents several key indicators for the telecommunications retail sectors and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the retail wireless: 51%, wireline voice: 20%, Internet: 21%, and Data and private line: 8% revenues as a percentage of retail telecommunications revenues in 2015. Total telecommunications retail revenues were $43.9 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $43.9 billion, an increase of 4.1% over 2014. Third indicator: vertical integration, percent of retail revenues captured by 7 companies operating in all telecommunication sectors: 82%. Fourth indicator: Internet revenue growth rate: 9.9%. Fifth indicator: facilities-based service providers’ revenue market share as a percentage of total retail revenues: 97%.

As noted in the previous section, Canada’s telecommunications industry consists of six sectors: local, long distance, Internet, wireless, data, and private line.

In 2015, Canadian retail telecommunications revenues were $43.9 billion, of which 49% were from wireline services. Of the wireline revenues, 58% were from residential services and 42% from business services. The top 5 incumbent TSPs and top 5 cable-based carriers reported 60% and 33% of retail telecommunications revenues, respectively. Collectively, these 10 companies captured 93% of all retail revenues. The remaining 7% of the revenues were garnered by a large number of resellers and other facilities-based service providers. The data suggests that companies which operated in multiple sectors continue to have clear competitive advantages relative to those who are less integrated.

In 2011, revenues from wireless services were $18.4 billion or 47% of total retail revenues. By 2015, mobile wireless service revenues increased to $22.5 billion or 51% of total retail revenues. For the first time ever, more than 50% of all retail revenues in 2015 were from wireless services. This growth was driven in large part by increased subscriptions and heightened demand for wireless data services. Data revenues, excluding roaming and other services (e.g. interconnection), have experienced an average annual growth rate of 18.8% between 2011 and 2015.

Wireline revenues have increased at a much slower pace since 2011. Wireline service revenues increased from $20.6 billion in 2011, or 53% of retail telecommunications revenues, to $21.4 billion, or 49%, in 2015. This small expansion masks the fact that wireline voice services’ revenues have fallen by nearly $1.9 billion or 18%, since 2011. The number of local lines has also declined from 18.3 million lines in 2011 to 15.6 million lines in 2015. In contrast, Internet was the only wireline service that experienced positive revenue growth in 2015. In fact, Internet was the fastest growth sector, across all sectors, with revenue growth of more than $835 million or 9.9% in 2015.

Telecommunications service revenues exclude revenues from the sale and rental of wireline telephone sets. Annual investment in plant and equipment only includes investments made by companies with annual revenues greater than $100 million.

i) Revenues

Telecommunications revenues come from a variety of sources. Revenues from wireline voice services come from local telephone and long distance services, while revenues from non-voice services come from Internet services, newer data protocols services (such as Ethernet and IP-VPN), legacy data protocols services (such as X.25 and frame relay) and private line. Revenues for mobile wireless come from mobile voice and data services, and from the sale and rental of mobiles devices.

Table 5.1.1 Telecommunications retail revenues, by market sector ($ billions)
Sector Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireline Wireline voice Local 8.1 7.8 7.7 7.4 7.1 -4.0 -3.1
Long distance 2.4 2.1 1.9 1.8 1.5 -14.2 -11.1
Subtotal 10.5 10.0 9.6 9.2 8.7 -6.0 -4.8
Non-voice Internet 6.8 7.2 7.7 8.4 9.2 9.9 8.0
Newer data protocols 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.9 -1.1 2.4
Legacy data protocols, private line, and other 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.6 -7.2 -0.5
Data protocols, private line and other subtotal 3.3 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.5 -3.9 1.0
Non-voice subtotal 10.1 10.7 11.3 12.0 12.7 5.8 5.9
Total Total wireline 20.6 20.6 20.9 21.2 21.4 0.7 0.9
Wireless Total Total wireless 18.4 19.5 20.2 20.9 22.5 7.5 5.2
Total Total Grand total 39.0 40.2 41.1 42.2 43.9 4.1 3.0

Source: CRTC data collection

This table presents a detailed breakdown of the retail revenues, annual growth rates and the CAGR for wireline and wireless services by market sector for the years 2011 to 2015.

Wireline services are generally a household or a business service, whereas mobile wireless services are an individual or personal type of service. In 2014, the most recent period for which telephone penetration data is available from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, 75.5% of households had wireline service, 85.6% had wireless service, 13.6% had only wireline service and 23.7% had only wireless service.

Figure 5.1.1 Telecommunications wireline and wireless retail revenues

Line chart of Figure 5.1.1: Telecommunications wireline and wireless retail revenues
Text Description of Image

This line stacked column chart shows both wireline and wireless revenues in billions of dollars between 2011 and 2015. The line on the graph represent retail wireline revenues as a percentage of total retail telecommunications revenues. Wireline: 20.6, 20.6, 20.9, 21.2, 21.4; Wireless: 18.4, 19.5, 20.2, 20.9, 22.5; Wireline revenues as a percentage of total retail telecommunications revenues: 52.8%, 51.4%, 50.9%, 50.3%, 48.7%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This graph presents the retail wireline and mobile wireless revenues for the years 2011 to 2015. Over this period, aggregate revenues from wireline and wireless services have increased steadily. The line on the graph represents retail wireline revenues as a percentage of total retail telecommunications revenues.

Figure 5.1.2 Distribution of telecommunications retail revenues, by market sector

Circular charts of Figure 5.1.2: Distribution of telecommunications revenues, by market sector
Text Description of Image

These are side by side circular charts that show the telecommunications revenue distribution by market segment for 2011 and 2015. The five market segments displayed in each of circular chart are local and access, long distance, internet, data and private line, and wireless. Local: 2011: 21%, 2015: 16%; Long distance: 2011: 6%, 2015: 3%; Internet: 2011: 17%, 2015: 21%; Data and private line: 2011: 8%, 2015: 8%; Wireless: 2011: 47%, 2015: 51%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These two figures show the distribution of retail telecommunications revenues by market sector for two periods, 2011 and 2015. Wireless data services are captured within the wireless market sector. Wireless services are capturing increasingly larger shares of the market, while the market share of long distance and local telephone services has declined.

ii) Technology indicators

Technology has been a key driver of growth in the telecommunications industry. It has promoted network efficiencies, and service and product innovation, and facilitated competition. Revenues from legacy services have generally been declining as consumers switch to other services that provide greater functionality and flexibility.

Figure 5.1.3 Annual revenue change for newer and legacy telecommunications services, by technology

Clustered column chart of Figure 5.1.3: Annual revenue change for newer and legacy telecommunications services, by technology
Text Description of Image

This clustered column charts shows the revenue growth from newer telecommunication services versus legacy telecommunication services in billions of dollars for each year between 2013 and 2015. Newer services consists of wireless, Internet, and newer data protocols. Legacy services consists of local and access, legacy data and private line, and long distance. Wireless: 0.7, 0.7, 1.6; Internet: 0.5, 0.7, 0.8; Newer data protocols: 0.0, 0.1, 0.0; Local and access: -0.2, -0.2, -0.3; Legacy data and private line: 0.1, 0.0, -0.1; Long distance: -0.2, -0.2, -0.2.

Source: CRTC data collection

Newer technologies are changing the way Canadians access telecommunications services. This graph shows the annual change in revenues for newer technologies such as wireless, Internet, and other services based on data protocols in each of the past three years. The graph also compares the annual revenue change for newer services and for legacy services such as local, legacy data and private line, and long distance services.

Newer data protocols refer to services using protocols such as Ethernet and IP. Legacy data refers to services using protocols such as X.25 and frame relay.

Figure 5.1.4 Residential IP-based service revenues

Bar chart of Figure 5.1.4: Residential IP-based service revenues
Text Description of Image

This bar chart show residential IPTV, Internet access, voice via cable and IP-provisioned service revenues (billions) between 2011 and 2015. IPTV: 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, 1.3, 1.6; Internet access: 4.9, 5.4, 5.9, 6.5, 7.2; Voice via cable: 1.3, 1.3, 1.4, 1.4, 1.3; Total: 6.5, 7.3, 8.3, 9.2, 10.2.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.1.5 Homes passed by fibre-optic cable (millions), 2015

Stacked bar chart of Figure 5.1.5: Homes passed by fibre-optic cable, 2015
Text Description of Image

This stacked bar chart shows the number homes that were either passed by fibre-based lines to the premise (FTTP) or to the node (FTTN), by type of provider. The number of line are reported in millions. Incumbents: FTTP: 3.3, FTTN: 7.7; Cable-based carriers: FTTP: 0.1, FTTN: 12.8; Other facilities-based service providers: FTTP: 0.04, FTTN: 0.1.

Source: CRTC data collection

Providers of telecommunications service are adopting fibre-optic-based systems. This graph shows the number of premises that were either passed by fibre-based lines (FTTP) or that were passed by copper lines connected to a node that was served by a fibre-optic cable (FTTN). The node connected by fibre-optic cable is the closet node to the premises. A node is a pedestal where connections are made. The number of homes passed refers to the number of homes that can have the telecommunications service using this technology.

A fibre-optic cable is a cable containing one or more strands that carry light. The light is used as a medium to transmit data. A fibre-optic cable is excellent for transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths or capacity than wire cables.

Figure 5.1.6 Percentage of residential lines using fibre-optic cable, 2015

Circular charts of Figure 5.1.6: Percentage of residential lines using fibre-optic cable, 2015
Text Description of Image

These circular charts contain the percentage of FTTN, FTTP and Non fibre lines for 2014 and 2015. 2014 : FTTN : 25.3 %; FTTP: 6.2 %; Non fibre: 68.5 %. 2015: FTTN: 22.9 %; FTTP: 8.9%; Non fibre: 68.1%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These figures show the percentage of fibre-based lines as a percentage of total residential lines in 2014 and 2015.

iii Competitive landscape

Facilities-based providers of telecommunications services accounted for 96% of the retail telecommunication revenues in 2015. Cable-based carriers and other facilities-based alternative providers of telecommunications services are the largest source of competition to the incumbent TSPs.

Figure 5.1.7 Total retail telecommunications revenue market share, by type of service provider, 2015

Circular chart of Figure 5.1.7: Total telecommunications revenue market share, by type of service provider, 2015
Text Description of Image

This is a single circular chart that shows the telecommunications revenue market share by type of service provider in 2015. There are three types of service providers in this circular chart. Incumbent TSPs: 60%; Cable-based carriers and other facilities based TSPs: 36%; Resellers: 4%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Total retail telecommunications revenues in 2015 were $43.9 billion. This chart shows the percentage share of the revenues captured by separate groups of providers of telecommunications services. The Incumbent TSPs captured the largest share of the market. Cable-based carriers and other facilities-based alternative TSPs captured the next largest share, followed by resellers.

Table 5.1.2 Number and percentage of retail telecommunications revenues generated by companies operating in multiple markets
Number of market sectors Number of reporting groups or entities operating in these markets Percentage of telecom revenues generated in these markets (%)
2013 2014 2015 2013 2014 2015
6 9 8 7 84 84 82
5 12 11 14 10 10 10
4 29 25 23 3 2 1
3 33 42 36 1 1 2
2 26 22 37 1 1 2
1 44 43 57 1 2 3

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the dominance of larger companies in the telecommunications market sectors. For example, although few companies operate in all six telecommunications market sectors (local, long distance, Internet, wireless, data, and private line), these companies captured almost 82% of total market revenues. Reporting groups include affiliated companies.

Entities with services in five or more market sectors are generally large facilities-based companies with revenues greater than $100 million. Companies with services in two or fewer market sectors are generally resellers with revenues less than $10 million.

Table 5.1.3 Wireline telecommunications revenue market share (%), by type of service provider, 2015
Type Subtype Residential Business Total
Incumbent TSPs Incumbent TSPs 47.6 74.7 59.0
Alternative service providers Cable-based carriers and other facilities-based service providers 46.5 17.0 34.1
Resellers 6.0 8.8 7.2
Subtotal 52.4 25.8 41.0

Source: CRTC data collection

In this table, revenue market shares for wireline telecommunications services are split into residential and business sources for incumbent TSPs, as well as alternative providers of telecommunications services, such as resellers, cable-based carriers and other facilities-based service providers.

In the wireline telecommunications market sectors, alternative service providers made greater revenue gains in the residential market than in the business market. Contributing to this increase are the cable companies that upgraded their cable networks to provide telephony services to their residential television subscribers.

Wireline market sectors include: local telephone market sector, long distance market sector, Internet market sector and data and private line market sector.

iv) Contribution

In 2015, approximately 10% of residential telephone lines were in high-cost serving areas. As part of a commitment towards the social and economic objectives of the Telecommunications Act, TSPs, or groups of related TSPs, with at least $10 million in Canadian telecommunications service revenues, contributed $107 million towards the provision of residential telephone service in high-cost serving areas that met the basic service objective.

Figure 5.1.8 Subsidy paid to local exchange carriers and the revenue-percent charge

Bar and line chart of Figure 5.1.8: Subsidy paid to local exchange carriers and the revenue-percent charge
Text Description of Image

This bar and line chart shows the subsidy received by LECs in millions of dollars from 2011 to 2015: 157, 132, 118, 108, 107. Contribution rates for the same period are also provided: 0.66%, 0.63%, 0.53%, 0.55%, 0.55%.

Sources: CRTC data collection and decisions

What is the basic service objective?

The Commission established the basic service objective in 1999, which reflected the level of service available at that time to most Canadians. The basic service objective ensures that Canadians in all regions have access to affordable, high-quality telecommunications services. Currently, the basic service objective consists of the following:

  • Individual line local touch-tone service;
  • Capability to connect to the Internet via low-speed data transmission at local rates;
  • Access to the long distance network, operator/directory assistance services, enhanced calling features and privacy protection features, emergency services, as well as voice message relay service; and
  • A printed copy of the current local telephone directory upon request.

v) Consumer voices

In 2015, the CRTC and the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS) had over 40,000 communications with Canadians regarding telecommunications services. Of these, 53% were with the CRTC and 47% were with the CCTS. Wireless service issues were the most common (38%), followed by Internet issues (21%) and telemarketing issues (16%).

The underlying issues of these complaints were billing errors (34%), contract disputes/terms of service (18%), and service delivery/provision of service (14%).

What is the CCTS?

The CCTS is an independent organization dedicated to working with consumers and service providers to resolve complaints about telephone and Internet services. Its structure and mandate were approved by the CRTC. The CCTS handles complaints about most telecommunications services provided to individuals and small businesses, including home phone, wireless, Internet, and VoIP services. CCTS is also responsible for administering the Wireless Code. Additional information on the CCTS can be found at: https://www.ccts-cprst.ca/

Table 5.1.4 Number of telecommunications-related contacts received by the CRTC, by type of issue and service, 2015
Service CRTC policies/ decisions Billing /rates Quality of service Provision of service Terms of service Other Total Contacts per 10,000 residential lines, subscribers or payphones
Telemarketing 6,714 - - - - - 6,714 6.5
Incumbent telephone companies 491 1,586 615 410 225 43 3,370 6.1
Wireless services 1,021 2,490 473 361 902 118 5,365 1.8
Internet services 1,368 806 710 529 184 97 3,694 3.1
Telecommunication services 765 297 71 126 64 82 1,405 1.4
Competitive local exchange carriers 95 184 58 82 36 3 458 0.9
Alternative providers of long distance service 31 142 24 14 27 2 240 0.2
VoIP services 72 68 43 47 20 - 250 0.2
Pay telephone services 21 33 11 6 1 5 77 10.4
Total 10,578 5,606 2,005 1,575 1,459 350 21,573 -

Source: CRTC data collection

Table 5.1.5 Summary of issues raised in telecommunications complaints handled by the CCTS (2014-2015)
Service Billing error Contract dispute Service delivery Credit management Total
Wireless services 4,345 3,557 1,756 556 10,214
Internet access 2,203 1,385 1,323 134 5,045
Local telephone 1,510 947 938 126 3,521
Long distance 311 97 107 19 534
Directory assistance 6 - - - 6
White page directories 3 2 - - 5
Operator services 1 - - - 1
Total 8,379 5,988 4,124 835 19,326

Source: CCTS annual report

5.2 Wireline voice retail sector

Infographic summarizing section 5.2 – Wireline voice retail sector
Infographic summarizing section 5.2 – Wireline voice retail sector
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the wireline voice retail sector and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the retail wireline voice revenues as a percentage of total retail telecommunications revenues in 2015: 20%. Total telecommunications retail revenues were $43.9 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $8.5 billion, a decrease of 6.0% over 2014. Third indicator: local telephone service revenues: $7.0 billion, a decrease of 4.0% over 2014. Fourth indicator: VoIP Access-independent connections: 0.6 million (4% of local telephone lines). Fifth indicator: Long distance service revenues: $1.5 billion, a decrease of 14.2% over 2014.

Over 150 companies provide local and long distance services across Canada. In 2015, the retail wireline voice sector reported $8.5 billion in revenues, 82% of which was from local telephone services and 18% from long distance services. Revenues from wireline voice services decreased $543 million, or -6.0%, from the previous year. This decline is almost equally shared between local (54%) and long distance (46%) revenues.

Cable-based carriers account for over 30% of all local and long distance residential revenues. Cable-based carriers are gaining ground on the business services front with revenues increasing from $310 million to $317 million in the last year.

The Canadian wireline sector continues to face pressure from technological substitution and a growing demand for wireless services. Steady losses in the wireline voice retail sector continued in 2015 as providers reported nearly 800,000 in line reductions. Conversely, the wireless retail sector gained approximately 1 million new subscribers for the same year.

The arrival of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services opened the wireline voice market sector to new non-traditional providers. Access-independent VoIP providers use broadband Internet to provide local telephone service that is similar to traditional telephone service at a fraction of the cost to subscribers. The number of Canadians subscribing to access-independent VoIP now represents over 625,000 subscribers or approximately 4% of all retail local telephone line.

Monthly subscription to local telephone service typically includes unlimited local calling within a specific geographic area, emergency calling (9-1-1), message relay services, access to long distance and dial-up Internet services. Optional add-on services or features include call display, call forwarding, and conference calling. Long distance service provides voice communication between two different local calling areas and is generally billed on a per-minute usage basis.

i) Revenues

Table 5.2.1 Local and long distance retail revenues ($ millions)
Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Total retail local revenues 8,106 7,821 7,661 7,441 7,146 -4.0 -3.1
Less: Subsidy received 157 132 118 108 107 -0.8 -9.1
Net local service revenues 7,949 7,690 7,544 7,333 7,039 -4.0 -3.0
Long distance retail revenues 2,408 2,134 1,949 1,755 1,506 -14.2 -11.1
Local and long distance retail revenues 10,357 9,824 9,493 9,088 8,545 -6.0 -4.7

Source: CRTC data collection

Total retail local revenues include revenues from local telephone service provided to residential and business customers. It includes revenues from calling features such as call display, and call forwarding, as well as installation and repair, and excludes revenues from the sale and rental of telephone sets.

Basic local telephone service with access to long distance service is part of the basic service objective. The obligation to serve and the basic service objective are regulatory measures imposed on incumbent local telephone companies. To this end, these companies receive a subsidy from a national contribution fund in which all telephone service providers are required to participate. These subsidies are excluded in the remaining tables and figures of this section.

Local retail revenues represent approximately 80% of all local and long distance retail revenues.

Table 5.2.2 Residential local telephone and long distance service retail revenues, by type of TSP ($ millions)
Type of TSP Type of revenue 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs Local 3,141 2,922 2,696 2,559 2,402 -6.1 -6.5
Long distance 1,052 932 802 687 586 -14.6 -13.6
Total 4,193 3,854 3,498 3,246 2,989 -7.9 -8.1
Alternative service providers (excluding cable-based carriers) Local 174 188 164 216 166 -23.2 -1.2
Long distance 330 281 211 178 159 -10.8 -16.7
Total 505 469 375 393 325 -17.4 -10.5
Cable-based carriers Local 1,285 1,307 1,388 1,399 1,347 -3.7 1.2
Long distance 223 210 201 180 148 -17.9 -9.8
Total 1,508 1,517 1,589 1,580 1,495 -5.4 0.2
All TSPs Local 4,600 4,417 4,248 4,174 3,916 -6.2 -3.9
Long distance 1,606 1,424 1,213 1,045 893 -14.5 -13.6
Total 6,206 5,840 5,462 5,219 4,809 -7.9 -6.2

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays revenues and annual revenue growth rates from residential local and long distance services, by type of provider, for the years 2011 to 2015. The annual growth rates indicate that residential revenues from both local and long distance services are in decline for all types of service providers except cable-based carriers and to a lesser extent the other alternative service providers. These carriers have increased their revenues from local telephone service and have the lowest decline in revenues from long distance services.

Note that revenues from local telephone services are increasingly exceeding those from long distance service.

Table 5.2.3 Business local telephone and long distance retail revenues, by type of TSP ($ millions)
Type of TSP Type of revenue 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs Local 3,072 2,970 2,909 2,781 2,672 -3.9 -3.4
Long distance 610 538 533 550 458 -16.7 -6.9
Total 3,682 3,508 3,442 3,331 3,130 -6.0 -4.0
Alternative service providers (excluding cable-based carriers) Local 90 93 141 119 180 51.4 19.0
Long distance 117 108 142 109 109 0.0 -1.8
Total 207 200 283 228 289 26.9 8.7
Cable-based carriers Local 187 210 247 258 272 5.2 9.8
Long distance 76 66 60 52 46 -12.2 -12.0
Total 263 276 307 310 317 2.3 4.8
All TSPs Local 3,350 3,273 3,295 3,159 3,123 -1.1 -1.7
Long distance 802 711 736 710 613 -13.7 -6.5
Total 4,151 3,984 4,031 3,869 3,736 -3.4 -2.6

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays revenues and annual revenue growth rates from business local and long distance services, by type of provider, for the years 2011 to 2015. Similar to the residential market, the business market is in decline, but at a slower rate. Canadian businesses appear to be moving to alternative and cable-based service providers as both of these types of providers are experiencing growth in the local market.

Table 5.2.4 Long distance retail revenues by type of provider and size ($ millions)
Size Type of provider 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Telecom revenues over $100 million Incumbent TSPs 1,598 1,444 1,311 1,216 1,017 -16.4 -10.7
Alternative TSPs 78 68 56 45 34 -24.4 -18.7
Cable-based TSPs 345 272 257 228 188 -17.5 -14.1
Subtotal 2,021 1,783 1,624 1,488 1,239 -16.7 -11.5
Telecom revenues between $100 million and 10 million All providers 292 268 251 196 191 -2.7 -10.1
Telecom revenues below $10 million All providers 95 83 74 70 77 9.6 -5.2
Total All providers 2,408 2,134 1,949 1,755 1,506 -14.2 -11.1

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays long distance revenues and annual revenue growth, by type of service provider and size, as measured by their total Canadian telecommunications revenues. As a group, TSPs with telecommunications revenues over $100 million captured nearly 80% of the revenues from long distance services, while TSPs with telecommunications revenues less than $100 million captured 20% of the revenues from long distance services. These smaller service providers generally operate in relatively small niche markets catering to the needs of specific consumers, such as prepaid phone card users.

ii) Subscriber data

Local telephone service subscriber data is represented by the number of telephone lines, while minutes are used for long distance.

This section categorizes local telephone lines into two types: managed and non-managed. A managed line refers to telephone service which uses a local service provider’s network, and the provider has control over call quality. A non-managed line refers to telephone service that is provided using the public Internet, with the local service provider having less control over the quality of service. This type of local service is referred to as access–independent VoIP.

Table 5.2.5 Number of retail managed and non-managed local telephone lines (thousands)
Type of line 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Managed local telephone lines 17,869 16,866 16,251 15,710 14,986 -4.6 -4.3
Non-managed local telephone lines - Access independent lines 404 861 670 694 626 -9.8 11.6
Total - Managed and non-managed local telephone lines 18,274 17,726 16,921 16,403 15,612 -4.8 -3.9

Source: CRTC data collection

The number of managed local telephone lines has decreased from 17.9 million lines in 2011 to 15 million lines in 2015; whereas the number of non-managed local lines has increased from 404 thousand in 2011 to 626 thousand in 2015. Managed local telephone lines count for 96% of total telephone lines. The total number of telephone lines remained in a state of decline.

Table 5.2.6 Residential and business local telephone lines by type of TSP (thousands)
Type of TSP Type of line 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs Residential 7,577 6,975 6,442 5,981 5,566 -6.9 -7.4
Business 5,350 5,084 4,890 4,670 4,335 -7.2 -5.1
Total 12,927 12,059 11,332 10,650 9,901 -7.0 -6.4
Alternative TSPs (excluding cable-based carriers) Residential 646 723 482 711 798 12.2 5.4
Business 225 264 261 224 233 4.0 0.9
Total 871 987 743 935 1,031 29.4 8.6
Cable-based carriers Residential 4,061 4,258 4,314 4,247 4,031 -5.1 -0.2
Business 414 422 531 571 649 13.7 11.9
Total 4,476 4,681 4,846 4,818 4,681 -2.9 1.1
All TSPs Residential 12,284 11,956 11,238 10,939 10,395 -5.0 -4.1
Business 5,989 5,770 5,683 5,465 5,217 -4.5 -3.4
Total 18,274 17,726 16,921 16,403 15,612 -4.8 -3.9

Source: CRTC data collection

This table presents the number of residential and business telephone lines, by type of service provider, and their respective annual growth rates. The total number of telephone lines has declined in both the residential and business markets. However, the number of residential telephone lines have declined more quickly than those of business.

The use of VoIP services in the residential and business markets varies significantly. On the one hand, cable-based carriers provide local telephone service – mostly to residential customers – over their managed network using access-dependent VoIP technology. They leverage existing cable infrastructure to provide local telephone service via their cable networks to their consumers. As a result, these carriers are the largest competitor to the traditional telephone companies in the residential market. Over 38% of households subscribe to local telephone service from a cable-based carrier.

Figure 5.2.1 Retail VoIP local lines, access-dependent and access-independent, by market

Bar chart of Figure 5.2.1: Retail VoIP local lines, access-independent and access-dependent, by market
Text Description of Image

This bar chart contains lines in millions categorized by Residential VoIP Access dependent, Residential VoIP Access independent and Business VoIP Access dependent, Business VoIP Access independent for both 2014 and 2015. Residential VoIP Access dependent: 4.3 for 2014 and 4.9 for 2015; Residential VoIP Access independent: 0.6 for 2014 and 0.6 for 2015; Business VoIP Access dependent 0.7 for 2014 and 0.9 for 2015; and Business VoIP Access independent: 0.1 for 2014 and 0.1 for 2015.

Source: CRTC data collection

In 2015, there were 5.2 million access-dependent lines, compared to 0.6 million access-independent VoIP connections.

iii) Performance indicators

Table 5.2.7 Local and long distance retail monthly revenues ($), per line
Type of line 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Residential 41.52 40.16 39.25 39.22 37.25 -5.0 -2.7
Business 58.49 56.46 58.66 57.84 58.29 0.8 -0.1

Source: CRTC data collection

Table 5.2.8 Long distance retail monthly revenues ($), per line
Type of line 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Residential 10.74 9.79 8.72 7.85 6.92 -11.9 -10.4
Business 11.30 10.08 10.71 10.63 9.56 -10.1 -4.1

Source: CRTC data collection

Monthly revenue per line:

Monthly revenue per line is calculated by (i) dividing the annual service revenues by the average number of local lines in the year, and then (ii) dividing the result by 12. The average number of lines is determined by dividing the sum of the number of lines at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year by two.

Table 5.2.9 Local telephone retail service monthly revenues ($) per line, by type of TSP
Type of line Type of TSP 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Residential local service Incumbent TSPs 33.25 33.47 33.49 34.33 34.68 1.0 1.1
Alternative TSPs (excluding cable-based carriers) 25.14 22.90 22.72 30.12 18.33 -39.1 -7.6
Cable-based carriers 26.74 26.18 26.99 27.24 27.12 -0.4 0.4
Total residential 30.78 30.37 30.53 31.37 30.59 -2.5 -0.2
Business local service Incumbent TSPs 47.81 47.44 48.61 48.48 49.45 2.0 0.8
Alternative TSPs (excluding cable-based carriers) 37.13 31.54 44.86 41.02 65.71 60.2 15.3
Cable-based carriers 43.48 41.86 43.16 39.04 37.08 -5.0 -3.9
Total business 47.20 46.39 47.95 47.23 48.73 3.2 0.8

Source: CRTC data collection

Average monthly revenues per line have been essentially constant from 2011 to 2015 for both the residential and business markets, except for Alternative TSPs which have experienced some fluctuations between 2013 and 2015.

Table 5.2.10 Long distance retail revenues ($) per minute, by type of TSP
Type of line Type of TSP 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Residential local service Incumbent TSPs 0.089 0.088 0.087 0.085 0.083 -1.9 -1.6
Alternative TSPs (excluding cable-based carriers) 0.049 0.051 0.047 0.043 0.040 -5.9 -4.7
Cable-based carriers 0.043 0.042 0.043 0.043 0.043 -0.4 -0.1
Total residential 0.068 0.067 0.066 0.067 0.062 -7.5 -2.3
Business local service Incumbent TSPs 0.061 0.045 0.044 0.044 0.038 -14.0 -11.3
Alternative TSPs (excluding cable-based carriers) 0.036 0.038 0.044 0.040 0.069 72.8 17.7
Cable-based carriers 0.027 0.025 0.024 0.025 0.025 -2.0 -2.4
Total business 0.044 0.040 0.043 0.041 0.039 -3.9 -2.7

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the average long distance revenues per minute for the residential and business markets by type of service provider. On average, residential consumers pay more for long distance service than business customers. In both cases, long distance prices have been trending downward. In 2015, Canadians paid 6.2 cents per minute compared to 3.9 cents by business customers.

Cable-based carriers generally had the lowest price per minute in both the residential and business markets.

iv) Price

Basic local telephone service includes unlimited calling within a geographic area, 9-1-1 services, and message relay services, as well as access to long distance services. Approximately 11% of households subscribing to wireline local service subscribe to basic service, while the remaining 89% subscribe to additional local features, which may be bundled with such other services as Internet, television, or wireless. The figures below display the price of basic local telephone service on a stand-alone basis in a number of urban and rural centres.

Urban centres

The bar charts below display the range of monthly prices of basic local service in 24 major urban centres in Canada. The blue bar displays the difference between the lowest and the highest price. The number in brackets along the horizontal represents the number of providers within the urban centre.

Figure 5.2.2 Price of basic local telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.2.2: Price of basic local telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest prices of basic local telephone service by major centre, as well as the number of service providers in each centre. Vancouver: 2 providers, low 30, high 36; Victoria: 2 providers, low 30 high 36; Calgary: 2 providers, low 30, high 35; Edmonton: 2 providers, low 30, high 36; Saskatoon: 2 providers, low 22, high 30; Regina: 2 providers, low 22, high 30; Winnipeg: 2 providers, low 29, high 30; Toronto: 2 providers, low 31, high 36; Ottawa-Gatineau: 3 providers, low 26 high 36; Hamilton: 3 providers, low 22, high 37; London: 2 providers, low 31, high 36; Kitchener-Waterloo: 2 providers, low 31, high 36; St. Catharines – Niagara: 2 providers, low 31, high 37; Windsor: 2 providers, low 31, high 37; Oshawa: 2 providers, low 31, high 36; Montréal: 2 providers, low 23, high 35; Québec: 2 providers, low 26, high 31; Fredericton: 2 providers, low 27, high 31; Halifax: 2 providers, low 28, high 31; Charlottetown: 2 providers, low 28, high 31; St. John’s: 2 providers, low 27, high 30; Whitehorse: 1 provider, 32; Yellowknife: 1 provider, 32; Iqaluit: 1 provider, 33.

Source: CRTC data collection

The price of basic local service varied across the major urban centres from $22 per month in Saskatoon, Regina and Hamilton to $37 in Hamilton, Windsor and St. Catharines - Niagara. In some cases, service providers did not provide the price of basic local telephone service. These companies provided the price for the service that came closest to the definition. Access-independent VoIP, not included above, is available in many major urban centres.

Rural communities

Figure 5.2.3 Price of basic local telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in urban and rural communities, by province and territory, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.2.3: Price of basic local telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in urban and rural communities, by province and territory, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest prices of basic local telephone service in rural and urban communities, by province or territory, as well as the number of service providers in the rural and urban communities. B.C. rural: 1 provider, low 35, high 36; B.C. urban: 2 providers, low 30 high 36; Alta. rural: 1 provider, low 36, high 36; Alta. urban: 2 providers, low 30 high 36; Sask. rural: 1 provider, 32; Sask. urban: 2 providers, low 22 high 30; Man. rural: 1 provider, low 29, high 30; Man. urban: 2 providers, low 29 high 30; Ont. rural: 1 to 2 providers, low 19, high 37; Ont. urban: 1 to 3 providers, low 26 high 36; Que. rural: 1 to 2 providers, low 26, high 35; Que. urban: 2 providers, low 26 high 31; N.B. rural: 1 provider, 27; N.B. urban: 2 providers, low 27 high 31; P.E.I rural: 2 providers, low 28, high 31; P.E.I urban: 2 providers, low 28 high 31; N.S. rural: 1 provider, 31; N.S. urban: 2 providers, low 23 high 30; N.L. rural: 1 provider, low 28, high 31; N.L. urban: 2 providers, low 27 high 30; Y.T rural: 1 provider, 33; Y.T. urban: 1 provider, 32; N.W.T. rural: 1 provider, 33 N.W.T. urban: 1 provider, 32; Nvt. rural: 1 provider, 33; Nvt. urban: 1 provider, 33.

Source: CRTC data collection

This bar chart displays the range of monthly price of basic local telephone service in fifty-four rural communities in Canada. The number appearing in parentheses along the vertical axis after the name of each province and territory indicates the range in the number of basic local telephone service providers in each rural centre or community responding to the survey. The price of basic local telephone service in rural communities varied, from lows of between $19 to $35 per month to highs of between $27 and $37 per month.

In some cases, service providers did not provide basic local telephone service. These companies provided the price for the service that came closest to the definition of basic local telephone service as defined in the survey.

Which rural communities were included?

Fifty-four rural communities were selected to assess the price of local telephone services (see Appendix 9). These communities met the following criteria:

  • the community was not part of one of the census metropolitan areas of the 24 urban centres;
  • the community had a population density of fewer than 400 people per square kilometre, or its population centre had fewer than 1,000 people;
  • the number of communities selected in each province/territory was proportional to the population of the province/territory; and
  • the communities were not clustered together.

v) Type of local facilities

Leased lines are lines acquired from facilities-based carriers. Resold lines connect directly from the underlying facilities-based carrier’s network to a customer.

Figure 5.2.4 Alternative TSP and cable-based carriers local retail lines, by type of facility

Bar chart of Figure 5.2.4: Alternative TSP and cable-based carriers local retail lines, by type of facility
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows local retail lines in millions, categorized by owned, leased and resold lines for the years 2012 through 2015. For 2012: Owned lines: 4.5; Leased lines: 0.1 and Resold lines: 0.2. For 2013: Owned lines: 4.6; Leased lines: 0.1 and Resold lines: 0.1. For 2014: Owned lines: 4.7; Leased lines: 0.04 and Resold lines: 0.1. For 2015: Owned lines: 4.5; Leased lines: 0.04 and Resold lines: 0.1.This bar chart shows local retail lines in millions, categorized by owned, leased and resold lines for the years 2012 through 2015. For 2012: Owned lines: 4.5; Leased lines: 0.1 and Resold lines: 0.2. For 2013: Owned lines: 4.6; Leased lines: 0.1 and Resold lines: 0.1. For 2014: Owned lines: 4.7; Leased lines: 0.04 and Resold lines: 0.1. For 2015: Owned lines: 4.5; Leased lines: 0.04 and Resold lines: 0.1.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.2.5 Percentage of local lines by type of line, 2015

Circular chart of Figure 5.2.5: Percentage of local lines by type of line, 2015
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the type of local lines as a percentage for 2015. Unmanaged lines: 4.0%; Manages lines (unbundled loop): 1.5%; Remaining managed lines: 94.5%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Not all unbundled loops are used for voice communication, but for purposes of this figure, they are included. The predominant means of competition is via cable facilities or VoIP.

vi) Competitive landscape

Traditionally, large incumbent TSPs were the sole providers of long distance services in Canada. With the introduction of long distance competition in 1992, other service providers entered the market.

Table 5.2.11 Large incumbent TSPs’ retail long distance revenue market share (%), by region
Region 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
B.C., Alberta 74 75 74 81 78
Saskatchewan 92 92 92 94 94
Manitoba 84 83 81 83 83
Ontario, Quebec 71 70 69 80 80
Atlantic 83 83 86 88 89
The North 97 97 98 99 99

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the percentage of retail long distance revenues captured by the large incumbent TSPs. “The North” includes Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

vii) Pay telephone service

Large incumbent TSPs continue to be the primary providers of payphone service across Canada.

Table 5.2.12 Large incumbent TSPs’ payphone revenues ($)
Metric 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2012-2015
Annual revenue per payphone 682 559 462 413 -10.6 -15.4

Source: CRTC data collection

Table 5.2.13 Large incumbent TSPs’ payphone quantities
Metric 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of payphones 93,771 84,870 73,883 66,997
Number of payphones per 1,000 households 6.8 6.1 5.6 4.8
Coin-operated payphones as a percentage of total payphones 92.7% 91.5% 91.8% 91.3%
Percentage of payphones equipped with Teletype capability 9.3% 12.6% 12.4% 12.6%

Source: CRTC data collection

As of 2015, no payphones were reported to be equipped with Internet capability.

5.3 Retail Internet sector and broadband availability

Infographic summarizing section 5.3 – Retail Internet sector and broadband availability
Infographic summarizing section 5.3 – Retail Internet sector and broadband availability
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the retail Internet sector and broadband availability and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the percentage of retail Internet revenues as a proportion of all retail telecommunications revenues in 2015. Internet: 21%; remaining market sectors: 79%; Total telecommunications retail revenues were $43.9 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $9.2 billion, an increase of 9.9% over 2014. Third indicator: take-up: 84% of Canadian households. Fourth indicator: monthly data usage: 38% increase by Canadian high-speed household subscribers. Fifth indicator: broadband availability: 99% of Canadian households.

Approximately 98% of Canadian households can access a download speed of at least 5 Mbps, which is sufficient for streaming high quality audio and video content. The vast majority of Canadians (96%) can access this speed using either landline or fixed wireless facilities, and an additional 1.5% may get access via satellite facilities. Eighty percent of Canadian households subscribe to services with download speeds of 5 Mbps or higher. When taking into account an upload speed of 1 Mbps, availability of 5 Mbps or higher internet services declines to 95%Footnote 1 (93% excluding satellite), with 70% of Canadian households subscribing.

At the same time, Canadians are demanding more bandwidth from broadband service providers. The average monthly amount of data downloaded by residential subscribers increased 40% between 2014 and 2015 to 93.0 GB per month, and an average of 50.4% annually over the last 5 years, indicating that Canadians are likely using more video content and other high-bandwidth-consuming services. Average upload amounts also increased 26.8% in 2015, reaching an average of 10.9 GB per month.

The advertised service speeds of the plans that are being used by Canadians have also increased, with subscriptions to plans including service speeds of 50 Mbps and higher going from just 0.3% of residential high-speed subscriptions in 2011 to 19.2% in 2015. Plans including service speeds of 5 to 9 Mbps declined from 45.6% in 2011 to 23.4% in 2015.

Fixed wireless services are a major source of broadband Internet connectivity in rural areas, since 33% of rural households have access to broadband Internet via fixed wireless services, but not fibre, cable, or DSL. While satellite coverage is nationwide, capacity limitations restrict practical broadband Internet service availability to approximately 1.5% of all Canadian households. Additional coverage is available via LTE and HSPA+ networks, although data allowances may differ from satellite and wireline broadband. For more information on the wireless sector, see section 5.5.

In 2015, Internet service revenues increased 9.9% from $8.4 billion in 2014 to $9.2 billion; 80% of these revenues ($7.4 billion) came from residential sources and 20% ($1.8 billion) came from business sources.

Internet services were provided by over 500 ISPs, consisting of traditional telephone and cable companies, fixed wireless service providers, and resellers. The revenue market share for Internet access for the top 5 companies (Bell, Shaw, Rogers, TELUS, and Videotron) declined from 74% in 2014 to 73% in 2015. The cable-based carriers’ revenue market share declined to 47% in 2015 from 49% in 2014, while the incumbent TSPs’ revenue market share slightly increased from 37.6% to 38.1%. Residential high-speed Internet service subscriptions provided through wholesale DSL and cable have more than doubled since 2011. There are over 300 facilities-based service providers, and over 200 companies offering residential high-speed Internet services solely through the use of resale facilities provided by the incumbent TSPs and the cable-based carriers.

Industry churn ratesFootnote 2 varied in 2015. For residential high-speed Internet access service subscriptions, the rate went up slightly over last year, from 1.79% to 1.80%, while for business subscriptions, the rate went up more, from 1.36% to 1.47%.

Unless otherwise noted, broadband Internet service availability figures exclude wireless mobile technology. Satellite access services in this section refer to direct-to-home satellite, and not to the technology used to connect communities to the Internet.

Broadband speed targets:

In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2011-291, the Commission set a target that all Canadians should have access to broadband service speeds of at least 5 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, through a variety of technologies, by the end of 2015. As of 31 December 2015, it is estimated that this service was available to 99.5% of Canadian households using a variety of technologies, including LTE and satellite. This number is 93% when excluding mobile and satellite technologies.

i) Revenues

Table 5.3.1 Retail Internet service revenues ($ millions)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Residential Access 4,923 5,369 5,938 6,554 7,224 10.2 10.1
Applications, equipment, and other Internet-related services 267 209 160 162 210 29.8 -5.9
Total 5,190 5,577 6,098 6,716 7,434 10.7 9.4
Business Access and Transport 1,194 1,202 1,243 1,320 1,435 8.7 4.7
Applications, equipment, and other Internet-related services 407 416 384 378 380 0.7 -1.7
Total 1,601 1,619 1,626 1,698 1,815 6.9 3.2
All Total 6,791 7,196 7,725 8,414 9,249 9.9 8.0

Source: CRTC data collection

This table presents an overview of revenues from residential and business Internet access services, as well as other related services. Residential Internet service revenues have increased faster than business service revenues, 9.4% vs. 3.2%, respectively, over the 2011 to 2015 period.

The types of Internet services available vary according to the download speed of the Internet connection. The lowest download speed comes with dial-up service, at 64 Kbps. High-speed services refer to services provided including download speeds greater than 256 Kbps. Broadband service is defined as any service including a 1.5 Mbps or greater download speed. “Business transport” refers to the transfer of Internet traffic between networks. This is generally used by large business customers.

Table 5.3.2 Residential Internet access service revenues, by type of service ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs 1,779 1,891 2,156 2,442 2,760 13.0 11.6
Cable-based carriers 2,811 3,065 3,293 3,477 3,651 5.0 6.7
Other service providers 332 412 489 636 814 28.0 25.1
Total 4,923 5,369 5,938 6,554 7,224 10.2 10.1
Dial-up (as a percentage of revenues) 1.4% 0.8% 0.5% 0.3% 0.2%  

Source: CRTC data collection

Table 5.3.3 Business Internet access and transport service revenues, by type of service ($ millions)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Internet access Incumbent TSPs 562 579 581 591 659 4.1
Cable-based carriers 309 273 306 350 421 8.1
Resellers, utility telcos, and other carriers 272 285 285 307 316 3.8
Total 1,142 1,138 1,171 1,248 1,396 5.1
Transport Total 52 65 71 72 39 -7.1
Total business Internet service revenues Total 1,194 1,202 1,243 1,320 1,435 4.7

Source: CRTC data collection

Over the 2011 to 2015 period, revenues from the business Internet access service market increased 5.1% annually.

Due to a change in company reporting, transport revenues in 2015 are not comparable to those in previous years.

Part of the increase in cable-based carriers’ revenues is due to a reclassification of revenues.

ii) Subscriber data

Residential Internet service subscribers receive Internet service from a variety of service providers. In 2015, residential subscribers reached 12 million, a 3.3% increase from 2014.

Table 5.3.4 Residential Internet service subscribers, by type of service provider (thousands)
Type of service 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs 4,014 4,114 4,244 4,429 4,586 3.6 3.4
Cable-based carriers 5,846 5,930 5,933 5,954 5,986 0.5 0.6
Other service providers 811 947 1,074 1,247 1,447 16.0 15.6
Total 10,671 10,991 11,251 11,630 12,019 3.3 3.0
Dial-up (as a percentage of subscribers) 2.3% 1.7% 1.1% 0.8% 0.7%    

Source: CRTC data collection

Internet subscription had 3% average annual growth since 2011. When compared to Statistics Canada’s annual population growth rates, the rate of Internet service subscriber growth was approximately three times that of population growth.

Figure 5.3.1 Residential Internet service subscriber market share, by type of service provider (%)

Circular charts of Figure 5.3.1: Residential Internet service subscriber market share, by type of service provider (%)
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the residential Internet service subscriber percentage market share, by type of service provider for 2011 and 2015. For 2011: Incumbent TSPs: 38%; Cable-based carriers: 55%; Other service providers: 8%. For 2015: Incumbent TSPs: 38%; Cable-based carriers: 50%; Other service providers: 12%.

Table 5.3.5 Number of business Internet access subscriptions, by type of service provider (thousands)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Dial-up Total 72 61 54 47 43 -7.8 -12.2
High-Speed Incumbent TSPs 471 463 487 504 538 6.6 3.4
Cable BDUs 232 268 310 347 375 8.0 12.7
Resellers, utility telcos and other carriers 152 150 170 179 185 3.5 5.0
Total 855 881 966 1,030 1,098 6.5 6.4

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.3.2 High-speed residential Internet service subscribers, by GB data transfer (upload/download) capacity included in subscriptions

Column chart of Figure 5.3.2: High-speed residential Internet service subscribers, by GB data transfer (upload/download) capacity included in subscriptions, 2015
Text Description of Image

This column chart describes the number of gigabytes per month downloadable by residential subscribers versus the percentage of residential subscribers subscribing to plans with at least these limits for the years 2011 to 2015, except for 300 gigabytes or more, which is only reported starting in 2013. Those with 20 Gigabytes or more in their plan comprise 89% of all subscriptions in 2011, 88% in 2012, 93% in 2013, 94% in 2014, and 97% in 2015; 60 gigabytes for more: 61% in 2011, 75% in 2012, 75% in 2013, 78% in 2014, and 84% in 2015; 100 gigabytes or more: 44% in 2011, 45% in 2012, 50% in 2013, 58% in 2014, and 69% in 2015; 160 gigabytes or more: 21% in 2011, 26% in 2012, 23% in 2013, 29% in 2014, and 39% in 2015. 300 gigabytes or more: 15% in 2013, 17% in 2014, and 25% in 2015. Unlimited: 13% in 2011, 12% in 2012, 12% in 2013, 14% in 2014, and 18% in 2015.

Source: CRTC data collection

Data for the 300 GB and higher category is not shown for 2011 and 2012. Plans with unlimited upload were counted by their download limit.

Data for tables 5.3.6, 5.3.8, 5.3.9, 5.3.10, 5.3.11, 5.3.12 and figure 5.3.2 are from the larger ISPs, which make up approximately 88% of the total residential high-speed subscriptions in 2015.

Table 5.3.6 Weighted-average upload and download usage (GBs) of residential high-speed Internet subscribers
Usage 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Download 18.2 28.4 44.8 66.5 93.0 39.9 50.4
Upload 3.8 5.4 6.0 8.6 10.9 26.8 30.2
Total 22.0 33.8 50.8 75.1 104.0 38.4 47.4

Source: CRTC data collection

iii) Performance indicators

In general, the average revenue per user for high-speed Internet services has been increasingFootnote 3. While some packages have experienced price declines, these declines have been offset by movement towards larger, faster packages.

Not only are Canadians choosing to subscribe to faster internet services, they are also choosing packages with more capacity. From 2011 to 2015, the amount of gigabytes downloadable in the average package has been increasing every year except in 2013.

Table 5.3.7 Residential Internet access service average revenue per user per month (ARPU), ($)
Type of TSP 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs 37.11 38.77 43.00 46.92 51.02 8.7 8.3
Cable-based carriers 40.75 43.39 46.27 48.75 50.96 4.5 5.7
Other service providers 35.52 39.09 40.32 45.64 50.35 10.3 9.1
Total 38.98 41.31 44.50 47.74 50.91 6.6 6.9

ARPU in the table above may vary from table 5.3.8 below which utilises data only from the larger providers, who comprise 88% of all high-speed subscriptions, and it is calculated based upon year-end, not throughout the year. This table also contains data from dial-up services.

Table 5.3.8 Residential Internet service one-month average revenue, by advertised download speed ($)
Advertised download speed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Lite and wideband up to 256 Kbps 33.86 35.97 35.36 36.00 27.06 -24.8 -5.5
Wideband 300 to 1400 Kbps 33.03 35.83 35.49 33.80 38.02 12.5 3.6
1.5 to 4 Mbps 32.87 41.87 31.45 48.05 52.11 8.4 12.2
5 to 9 Mbps 40.97 44.05 46.10 46.87 48.37 3.2 4.2
10 to 15 Mbps 42.11 40.62 48.17 48.52 53.59 10.4 6.2
16 to 49 Mbps 50.76 44.85 58.69 51.96 55.35 6.5 2.2
50 Mbps and higher 78.06 59.69 66.05 60.90 60.44 -0.8 -6.2
All tiers 39.80 43.80 49.64 50.06 54.00 7.9 7.9

Source: CRTC data collection

The one-month average revenue by downstream speed was calculated by dividing the service providers’ total one-month revenue in each speed tier by the total number of subscribers to the service in each speed tier in that month. The month used was December or the closest available month.

Table 5.3.9 Weighted-average upload/download limits (GBs) of residential Internet service plans, by advertised download speed
Advertised download speed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Lite and wideband up to 256 Kbps - - - - -
Wideband 300 to 1400 Kbps 14.90 17.89 25.42 27.25 31.23
1.5 to 4 Mbps 69.06 94.93 68.22 52.20 63.24
5 to 9 Mbps 80.81 76.78 48.46 53.36 62.55
10 to 15 Mbps 74.22 106.74 99.84 101.79 110.68
16 to 49 Mbps 176.98 131.50 142.14 159.15 188.50
50 Mbps and higher 236.54 364.80 362.86 283.10 286.34
All tiers 81.11 103.48 99.24 118.27 141.94

Source: CRTC data collection

The weighted-average upload/download limit was calculated for each downstream speed tier based on the number of subscribers to plans with upload/download limits.

Due to additional and more precise data from the independent ISP industry, the data in 2015 may not be comparable to previous years. This new data accounts for approximately 5.5 GB in the “all tiers” category.

Table 5.3.10 Residential Internet service upload speed (Kbps) by advertised download speed and average advertised download speed
Advertised download speed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Lite and wideband up to 256 Kbps 178 168 136 162 126
Wideband 300 to 1400 Kbps 314 313 291 283 279
1.5 to 4 Mbps 666 651 768 746 757
5 to 9 Mbps 855 1,118 809 937 969
10 to 15 Mbps 876 2,519 2,407 2,225 2,414
16 to 49 Mbps 2,662 2,912 4,133 4,676 6,159
50 Mbps and higher 3,667 13,199 19,890 13,701 15,015
Weighted average upload speed for all tiers 961 2,009 3,031 3,676 5,528
Weighted-average download speed for all tiers 8,238 12,610 15,465 21,242 29,150

Source: CRTC data collection

The weighted-average upload speed was calculated for each advertised download speed tier based on the number of subscribers to the plan. The weighted-average download speed was calculated based upon the number of subscribers to each plan.

iv) Price

Approximately 80% of households subscribed to a 5 Mbps download or higher-speed broadband Internet service in 2015, up from 77% in 2014. Urban households generally paid lower Internet service prices and had a greater number of Internet service providers to choose from than rural households.

Service providers were asked to report the price of the least expensive service they offered that provides a download speed of at least 5 Mbps. The information below is based upon 23 service providers. Some service providers offered only options with speeds greater than 5 Mbps, and these were included in the following figures.

Urban centres

Figure 5.3.3 Price of residential broadband (5 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban centres, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.3.3: Price of residential broadband (5 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban centres, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for 5 Mbps service in urban centres in 2015, as well as number of providers in each centre. Iqaluit: 1 provider, 180; Yellowknife: 1 provider, 63; Whitehorse: 1 provider, 63; St. John’s: 4 providers, low 25, high 85; Halifax: 4 providers, low 42, high 85; Charlottetown: 4 providers, low 42, high 85; Fredericton: 4 providers, low 25, high 85; Québec: 7 providers, low 30, high 43; Montréal: 6 providers, low 30, high 43; Windsor: 7 providers, low 30, high 58; Toronto: 7 providers, low 25, high 56; St. Catharines – Niagara: 7 providers, low 30, high 58; Ottawa-Gatineau: 9 providers, low 25, high 56; Oshawa: 7 providers, low 25, high 56; London: 7 providers, low 25, high 56; Kitchener-Waterloo: 7 providers, low 25, high 56; Hamilton: 8 providers, low 30, high 58; Winnipeg: 3 providers, low 25, high 73; Saskatoon: 3 providers, low 25, high 73. Regina: 2 providers: low 45, high 50; Edmonton: 7 providers, low 25, high 73; Calgary: 7 providers, low 25, high 73; Victoria: 7 providers, low 25, high 73; Vancouver: 7 providers, low 25, high 73.

Source: CRTC data collection

This bar chart displays the range in the monthly price of 5 Mbps Internet service in 24 urban centres in Canada. The number at the end of each bar is the highest price. The number in parentheses along the vertical axis after the name of each urban centre represents the number of ISPs in that urban centre. Satellite service is excluded, but is available in all areas for $70 per month.

The price of 5 Mbps Internet service varied from lows of between $25 to $63 per month, and highs of between $43 and $85 per month, except for services offered in Iqaluit. Subscribers in Iqaluit paid $180 per month for non-satellite Internet service.

Subscribers living in provincial urban centres generally had a choice of between 3 and 9 ISPs, while those living in territorial urban centres had a more limited selection.

Data caps, which limit the amount of data that can be downloaded per month, were a differentiating feature among the service providers. Low data users would generally benefit from these caps, while heavy users would not. Of the 17 service providers that listed service in urban areas,

Rural communities

As displayed in Figure 5.3.4, the price of 5 Mbps Internet service was generally higher in rural communities than in urban centres, except in New Brunswick and Nunavut.

The price of 5 Mbps Internet service in rural communities varied from lows of between $25 and $70 per month, and highs of between $70 and $93 per month.

Internet service subscribers living in rural communities generally had fewer service providers to choose from than subscribers living in urban centres. Of all the rural areas examined, the median provider choice was 3, with an average of 3.1. The median for urban areas was 7, with an average of 5.3.

Figure 5.3.4 Price comparison of residential broadband (5 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban and rural communities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.3.4: Price comparison of residential broadband (5 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban and rural communities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for 5 Mbps service in urban and rural areas on a per province basis. Nvt. urban: 1 provider, 180; Nvt. rural: 1 to 1 provider: 70; N.W.T. urban: 1 provider, 63; N.W.T. rural: 2 to 2 providers, low 63, high 70; Y.T. urban: 1 provider, 63; Y.T. rural: 2 to 2 providers, low 63, high 70; N.L urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 85; N.L. rural: 3 to 4 providers: low 56, high 85; N.S. urban: 4 providers, low 42, high 85; N.S. rural: 3 to 3 providers, low 56, high 85; P.E.I. urban: 4 providers, low 42, high 85; P.E.I. rural: 4 to 4 providers, low 56, high 85; N.B. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 85; N.B. rural: 4 to 5 providers, low 25 high 85; Que. urban: 6 to 7 providers, low 30, high 43; Que. rural: 4 to 5 providers, low 30, high 70; Ont. urban: 7 to 9 providers, low 25, high 58; Ont. rural: 3 to 5 providers, low 30, high 93; Man. urban: 3 providers, low 25, high 73; Man. rural: 1 to 2 providers, low 60, high 70; Sask. urban: 2 to 3 providers: low 25, high 73; Sask. rural: 2 to 3 providers, low 50, high 80; Alta. urban: 7 to 7 providers, low 25, high 73; Alta. rural: 2 to 3 providers, low 58, high 80; B.C. urban: 7 to 7 providers, low 25, high 73; B.C. rural: 2 to 3 providers, low 58, high 80.

Source: CRTC data collection

This bar chart displays the range in the monthly price of broadband (5 Mbps) Internet access service in 54 rural communities in Canada. The number at the end of each bar is the highest price. The number in parentheses along the vertical axis after the name of each province and territory represents the range in the number of service providers among the rural communities or urban centres. For example, “BC rural (2/3)” means that the number of service providers among the rural communities in British Columbia included in the survey varied between 2 and 3.

Satellite service is excluded in urban areas, but is available in all areas for $70 per month.

Which rural communities were included?

54 rural communities were selected to assess the price of Internet access services (see Appendix 9). These communities met the following criteria:

  • the community was not part of one of the census metropolitan areas of the 24 urban centres;
  • the community had a population density of fewer than 400 people per square kilometre, or its population centre had fewer than 1,000 people;
  • the number of communities selected in each province/territory was proportional to the population of the province/territory; and
  • the communities were not clustered together.

v) Consumer trends

In 2011, 47.0% of the ISPs’ high-speed residential Internet access service revenues were from plans with download speeds of between 5 and 9 Mbps. Plans with lower speeds yielded 24.2% of their revenues, while plans with higher speeds generated 28.9%. Four years later, 5 to 9 Mbps plans no longer yield the highest percentage of revenues, the revenues from these plans having declined to 21.0%, while revenues from lower-speed plans declined to 3.5%, and revenues from higher-speed plans increased to 75.5%.

Table 5.3.11 Residential Internet service one-month revenue distribution (%), by advertised download speed
Advertised download speed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Lite and wideband up to 256 Kbps 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0
Wideband 300 to 1400 Kbps 3.6 2.4 2.1 1.3 0.7
1.5 to 4 Mbps 20.3 17.4 4.6 3.6 2.8
5 to 9 Mbps 47.0 41.6 30.5 25.2 21.0
10 to 15 Mbps 16.5 9.3 24.8 24.8 23.9
16 to 49 Mbps 11.8 24.1 31.1 33.1 30.2
50 Mbps and higher 0.6 5.0 6.7 11.9 21.5
Total revenues in sample 375.7 427.6 494.9 517.8 552.7

Source: CRTC data collection

All data exclude terminal rental revenues. Services are listed without regard to upload speeds. 84.8% of high-speed service revenues stem from services that meet the Commission’s target speeds of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, compared to 96.5% of revenues from services including at least 5 Mbps download and any upload speed.

In 2015, Canadians continued to subscribe to higher-speed Internet access services than in 2011. In 2011, the most common plans included download speeds of 5 to 9 Mbps, representing 45.6% of all subscriptions. Plans with lower speeds made up 29.3% of all subscriptions, and plans with higher speeds represented 25.1% of subscriptions. Four years later, the 5 to 9 Mbps plans are no longer the most popular plans. The percentage of subscribers to these plans declined to 23.4%. In 2015, the percentage of subscribers to plans including speeds less than 5 Mbps declined to 3.9% while the percentage of subscribers to plans including speeds greater than 9 Mbps grew to 72.7%.

Table 5.3.12 Residential Internet service one-month subscriber distribution (%), by advertised download speed
Advertised download speed 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Lite and wideband up to 256 Kbps 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.0
Wideband 300 to 1400 Kbps 4.3 2.9 2.7 1.9 1.0
1.5 to 4 Mbps 24.6 18.2 7.3 3.7 2.9
5 to 9 Mbps 45.6 41.3 32.8 26.9 23.4
10 to 15 Mbps 15.6 10.1 25.6 25.6 24.1
16 to 49 Mbps 9.2 23.5 26.3 31.9 29.4
50 Mbps and higher 0.3 3.6 5.0 9.8 19.2
Total subscriptions in sample 9,440.3 9,761.1 9,970.1 10,345.1 10,558.7

Source: CRTC data collection

This table indicates that, over time, faster-speed services make up more subscriptions. 83.3% of Canadian households subscribe to some form of high-speed Internet service.

83.9% of high-speed Internet service subscribers subscribe to a service that meets the Commission’s target speeds of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, compared to 96.1% who subscribe to a service with at least 5 Mbps download and any upload speed.

vi) Competitive landscape

Canadians can access broadband Internet services using either wireline or wireless facilities. These facilities support evolving services, which make new experiences possible for Canadians, ranging from television and radio services, to new and highly interactive services and programs offering greater consumer control and choice. Consumers can engage with the digital world using their wireless devices at the time and place of their choice.

Figure 5.3.5 Broadband subscriptions ‒ Incumbent TSPs vs. cable-based carriers (millions)

Line chart of Figure 5.3.5: Broadband subscriptions – Incumbent TSPs vs. cable-based carriers (millions)
Text Description of Image

This two line chart describes, for the years 2011 to 2015, the number of broadband subscriptions (in millions) for Incumbent TSPs and cable-based carriers. For 2011: 3.7, 5.6; For 2012: 3.9, 5.7; For 2013: 4.1, 5.8; For 2014: 4.3, 5.8; For 2015: 4.5, 5.9.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.3.6 Internet access service revenue shares, by market and by type of service provider, 2015 (%)

Circular charts of Figure 5.3.6: Internet access service revenue shares, by market and by type of service provider, 2015 (%)
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the percentage revenue market share of various industry participant groups for residential and business Internet access markets: Residential circular chart: Incumbent TSPs: 38%; Cable-based carriers: 51%; Remaining alternative service providers: 11%. Business circular chart: Incumbent TSPs: 47%; Cable-based carriers: 30%; Remaining alternative service providers: 23%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.3.7 Business Internet access service revenues by access technology, 2011 vs. 2015 (%)

Circular charts of Figure 5.3.7: Business Internet access service revenues by access technology, 2011 vs. 2015 (%)
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the percentage of business access revenue by technology. For 2011: DSL: 43%; Cable: 20%; Fibre: 27%; Other: 8%; Dial-up: 2%. For 2015: DSL: 38%; Cable: 24%; Fibre: 29%; Other: 8%; Dial-up: 1%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Business Internet access service revenue is derived from services provided using a variety of access technologies. The “Other” segment refers to other technologies, such as fixed wireless and satellite technologies.

Figure 5.3.8 Residential Internet access service subscriptions by access technology, 2011 vs. 2015

Circular charts of Figure 5.3.8: Residential Internet access service subscriptions by access technology, 2011 vs. 2015
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the percentage of residential subscriptions by technology. For 2011: DSL: 38%; Cable: 56%; Dial-up: 2%; Fibre 1%; Fixed wireless and satellite: 3%. For 2015: DSL: 34%; Cable: 54%; Dial-up: 1%; Fibre: 7%; Fixed wireless and satellite: 4%.

Source: CRTC data collection

What are fixed wireless and satellite services?

“Fixed wireless services” refer to the use of radio spectrum to provide communications services to subscribers. The connection to the subscriber’s premises is from a tower located in the area.

Satellites can provide Internet access serviceFootnote 4. Connections are established between an earth station on the ground (using equipment such as satellite dishes) and a satellite in space. Satellites can support various frequency bands (C-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band).

Satellite Internet services delivered using the C-band require a large satellite dish and are typically used to serve a community. Ka-band, and to a lesser degree Ku-band, satellite Internet services can be offered using a small satellite dish located at the customer’s premises.

vii) Capacity requirements

This section examines the extent to which Canadians have access to broadband Internet service and the associated capacity requirements.

Fixed and mobile broadband services [i.e. Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) and Long Term Evolution (LTE)] are available to over 99% of households in Canada. Canadians are accessing the growing volumes of content, whether audio, video, or data, that are being made available online. Spurring this development is the adoption by Canadians of advanced handheld devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets).

There is a variety of Internet service providers in operation across Canada providing broadbandFootnote 5 access using a combination of DSL, cable modem, fibre-optic, satellite, and fixed-wireless facilities. These services are available to 98% of Canadian households not including satellite, and with satellite they are available to 99%.

Wireless service providers also provided broadband service. As displayed in the ‘Wireless retail market sector’ section of this report, 74% of wireless service subscribers in 2015 had data plans.

Bit Rate

The bit rate of a stream is, essentially, the number of bits transmitted in a particular time period. The standard measurement for bit rate of streaming services, like Internet access packages, is in a multiple of bits per second. Here, we use megabits per second (Mb/s), which is one million bits (or 125,000 bytes) per second. The measurements presented in this section show sample average bit rates of various streaming services. The measurements were performed in the CRTC’s Technology Resource Centre using off-the-shelf consumer electronics. For more information on the testing environment and methodology, see Appendix 10.

Since many streaming services use similar bit rates, they have been split into seven ranges. Table 5.3.13 lists the ranges, their average bit rate, a description and examples of streaming services in each range. Some streaming services are in multiple ranges as their bit rate is automatically adjusted based on connection type (i.e. mobile or wireline) and speed. A stream’s bandwidth can be adjusted by changing its compression level or codec; this compression level affects the bandwidth, and thus the number of simultaneous streams that an Internet connection can handle. For more information on these topics, see Appendix 10.

Where services do offer multiple quality options, they have been itemized separately in the table. Some services use qualitative names for their settings (e.g. good, better, best), while others use the resolution and video frame rate. For example, 144p means 144 lines of vertical resolution, progressive scan.Footnote 6 2160p60 means 2160 lines of vertical resolution (marketed as 4K), at 60 frames per second.Footnote 7 The term Ultra-high-definition (UHD) is used to encompass resolutions greater than 1440p, specifically 2160p and 4320p (also known as 4K and 8K, respectively); this is in contrast with the current High Definition (HD) standard which includes 720p, 1080p, and 1440p.

Due to the limited number of samples and the diversity of network configuration and equipment, the reported values in this section should be viewed as average-case estimates, not worst-case limits. It is important for consumers with data-limited Internet plans to monitor their usage using tools provided by the service provider. Some operating systems also include – or offer for download – usage measurement utilities, which can be used to estimate the provider’s data usage calculation.

Table 5.3.13 List of ranges for data usage measurement calculations
Average Download
Bit Rate
Description Examples of Services and Quality Settings Average data usage (gigabytes) per hour of streaming
0.0 – 0.5 Mb/s Streaming audio, mobile-quality streaming video, voice and SD video calling Streaming radio, Twitch audio-only/mobile video, Skype audio and SD video calling, YouTube 144p/240p 0.1 GB/h
0.5 – 2.0 Mb/s Standard-definition streaming video, HD video calling Skype HD video calling, Netflix low/medium, Shomi Good, YouTube 360p 0.6 GB/h
2.0 – 3.5 Mb/s Low bit rate HD streaming video CTV/Global/TSN GO, Bell TV, Crave TV (mobile devices), Shomi Better, YouTube 480p/720p, Twitch high 1.3 GB/h
3.5 – 5.0 Mb/s High bit rate HD streaming video Netflix HD (mobile devices), Twitch source, YouTube 720p60/1080p 1.8 GB/h
5.0 – 10.0 Mb/s Very high bit rate HD streaming video Shomi Best, Crave TV, YouTube 1080p60, Netflix HD 3.0 GB/h
10.0 – 20.0 Mb/s UHD streaming video Netflix UHD, YouTube 1440pFootnote 8 6.7 GB/h
20.0 – 50.0 Mb/s High frame rate UHD streaming video Netflix UHD (some titles), YouTube 1440p60/2160p/2160p6015 12.4 GB/h

Figure 5.3.9 shows the approximate amount of data used per hour of streaming for each bit rate range listed in Table 5.3.13. These numbers measure the stream without any auxiliary content (e.g. previews, menus, trailers, advertisements), so the actual amount of data used may be greater than these estimates.

As an example, a 30 minute Skype HD video call would use on average approximately 0.3GB.

Figure 5.3.9 Data usage (gigabytes) per hour of streaming, per bit rate range

Bar chart of Figure 5.3.9: Data usage (gigabytes) per hour of streaming, per bit rate range
Text Description of Image

This bar chart illustrates the average total data usage in gigabytes per hour of streaming, itemized by average bandwidth usage category. For 20.0-50.0 Mb/s: 9.0-22.5 GB/h, averaging 12.4 GB/h; 10.0-20.0 Mb/s: 4.5-9.0 GB/h, averaging 6.7 GB/h; 5.0-10.0 Mb/s: 2.25-4.5 GB/h, averaging 3.0 GB/h; 3.5-5.0 Mb/s: 1.575-2.25 GB/h, averaging 1.8 GB/h; 2.0-3.5 Mb/s: 0.9-1.575 GB/h, averaging 1.3 GB/h; 0.5-2.0 Mb/s: 0.225-0.9 GB/h, averaging 0.6 GB/h; 0.0-0.5 Mb/s: 0-0.225 GB/h, averaging 0.1 GB/h.

Streaming on Mobile Devices

With the proliferation of LTE data networks, consumers are now able to reliably use streaming and real-time communication applications on their mobile devices. Not only do LTE networks have much higher bandwidth, but they have consistent latencyFootnote 9 regardless of signal strength.

While some streaming services allow the user to choose a quality setting, many automatically reduce the quality if they detect that the destination device is on a mobile network. This automatic adjustment ensures that users don’t prematurely exhaust their data allowance by streaming high-bandwidth content. Many video streaming services also prompt the user for confirmation that they wish to use their mobile data, rather than connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

Many applications will reduce video quality on mobile devices regardless of the type of network they’re connected to. Since mobile devices generally have smaller screens than televisions, bit rates above a certain threshold offer negligible quality increases for an often-significant increase in data usage. Therefore, a video streaming service’s HD option may have a different bit rate on a mobile device than on a computer or a set-top streaming device.

viii) Key indicators

Broadband service availability is calculated using information provided by ISPs. Locations are considered to be serviced if their dissemination block representative point falls within broadband service coverage. Broadband service availability data may not take into account capacity issues, or issues regarding line of sight.Footnote 10

Table 5.3.14 Key telecommunications availability indicators (% of households)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Mobile broadband 3G/3G equivalent 99 99 99 99 99
HSPA+ 99 99 99 99 99
LTE 45 72 81 93 97
Wireline broadband DSL 86 87 82 82 82
Cable modem 82 82 82 82 82
Fibre - - 14 20 22
Wireline and fixed wireless Total 97 97 97 97 98
BDU services IPTV 34 45 56 65 70
Digital satellite National National National National National

Source: CRTC data collection

Not all broadband technologies are available in all parts of the country. This table lists the various types of mobile and wireline broadband technologies, as well as IPTV and digital satellite technologies, and shows the percentage of households nationally that were able to access such technologies for the years from 2011 to 2015. The declines in the availability of DSL in 2013 were due to the deployment of fibre technology. Fibre availability is not reported for 2011 and 2012.

Figure 5.3.10 Broadband service availability vs. subscriptions by province/territory, 2015

Stacked horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.3.10: Broadband availability vs. subscriptions by province/territory, 2015
Text Description of Image

This stacked horizontal bar chart describes, for the provinces of Canada, the availability of broadband via fixed technology, with a stacked element for the additional coverage provided by HSPA+ mobile technology. In addition, it shows the subscriber take-up percentage of broadband subscriptions per province via fixed technology. B.C.: 97%, HSPA+ adds 2%, take-up rate is 87%; Alta.: 99%, HSPA+ adds 0%, take-up rate is 84%; Sask.: 91%, HSPA+ adds 9%, take-up rate is 74%; Man.: 98%, HSPA+ adds 2%, take-up rate 77%; Ont.: 99%, HSPA+ adds 1%, take-up rate is 85%; Que.: 98%, HSPA+ adds 2%, take-up rate is 80%; N.B.: 97%, HSPA+ adds 3%, take-up rate is 86%; N.S.: 99.8%, HSPA+ adds 0%, take-up rate is 79%; P.E.I.: 93%, HSPA+ adds 7%, take-up rate is 85%; N.L.: 85%, HSPA+ adds 12%, take-up rate is 85%; North: 98%, HSPA+ adds 0%, take-up rate is 77%; Canada: 98%, HSPA+ adds 1%, take-up rate is 82%.

Sources: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

The availability and take-up rates of broadband services vary from province to province. The provinces of New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have arrangements to provide broadband services via satellite under terms and conditions similar to those for wireline services. In the province of Prince Edward Island, HSPA+ is available to households without access to other means of broadband services under terms and conditions equivalent to those for wireline services. The fixed broadband availability data exclude satellite broadband services, but these services are included in the fixed broadband subscriptions data. The HSPA+ bar shows the effect that inclusion of HSPA+ technology would have on broadband availability.

Figure 5.3.11 Broadband service, 5 Mbps availability (% of households)

Horizontal column chart of Figure 5.3.11: Broadband service, 5 Mbps availability (% of households)
Text Description of Image

This horizontal column chart describes, for 2014 and 2015, the availability of 5 Mbps broadband via various access means in 2014 and 2015. For DSL: In 2014: 79%, in 2015: 78%; For cable modem: In 2014: 81%, in 2015: 81%; For fibre: In 2014: 20%, in 2015: 22%; For wired total: In 2014: 89% , in 2015: 89%; For wired and fixed wireless total: In 2014: 94%, in 2015: 96%; For mobile: In 2014: 93%, In 2015: 97%; For all technologies: In 2014: 96%, in 2015: 99%.

Source: CRTC data collection

A broadband download speed of at least 5 Mbps is available to 98.6% of Canadian households through a variety of platforms. This bar graph shows the availability rates of broadband service access through DSL, cable modem, fixed wireless, fibre, and mobile technologies, as well as the availability rate of all technologies at this speed. Satellite service is excluded.

ix) Broadband service availability

Broadband service availability differs between Canada’s urban and rural areas, particularly in terms of services that offer faster download speeds.

Figure 5.3.12 Broadband service availability by speed (% of households)

Column chart of Figure 5.3.12: Broadband availability by speed (% of households)
Text Description of Image

This column chart describes the availability of broadband by various download speeds, in Mbps for 2011 to 2015: For 1.5 to 4.9 Mbps: 97%, 97%, 97%, 97%, 98%; For 5 to 9.9 Mbps: 87%, 91%, 94%, 94%, 96%; For 10 to 15.9 Mbps: 83%, 84%, 84%, 85%, 92%; For 16 to 24.9 Mbps: 80%, 82%, 82%, 84%, 89%; For 25 to 29.9 Mbps: 78%, 80%, 81%, 82%, 88%; For 30 Mbps to 49.9 Mbps: 76%, 79%, 80%, 81%, 83%; For 50 Mbps to 99.9 Mbps: 75%, 77%, 78%, 79%, 82%; For 100 Mbps and higher: 28%, 35%, 60%, 71%, 75%.

Sources: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

The availability of broadband services at higher speeds has been expanding in Canada. This graph excludes broadband services provided through satellite and mobile technologies.

Increases in speed categories at and above 50 Mbps in 2015 are in part due to the consideration of the effects of line bonding (using more than one line to provide service) on DSL.

Table 5.3.15 Broadband service availability in rural areas, by download speed and number of platforms (% of households), 2015
Number of platforms 1.5 Mbps and higher 5.0 Mbps and higher 10.0 Mbps and higher 16.0 Mbps and higher 25.0 Mbps and higher 30.0 Mbps and higher 50.0 Mbps and higher 100 Mbps and higher
1 9 16 42 36 36 24 23 20
2 40 41 18 14 12 6 6 4
3 33 27 5 2 2 0 0 0
4 15 10 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 98 93 64 52 50 31 29 24

Sources: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

This table shows the percentage of households in rural areas that have access to broadband services at varying speeds, and over four platforms: DSL/fibre, cable modem, fixed wireless, and mobile (HSPA+ and LTE). On one end of the availability spectrum, broadband service platforms at speeds of at least 5 Mbps are available to 93% of rural Canadian households. On the other end of the spectrum, two broadband service platforms at speeds of more than 100 Mbps are available to 6% of rural Canadian households.

The total at the bottom of each column indicates the percentage of rural Canadian households that can access the speeds noted for each column. This table excludes broadband services provided through satellite technologies.

Table 5.3.16 Broadband service availability, by speed and province/territory (% of households), 2015
Province/territory 1.5-4.9 Mbps 1.5-4.9 Mbps with HSPA+ 5-9.9 Mbps 5-9.9 Mbps with LTE 10-15.9 Mbps 16-24.9 Mbps 25 Mbps or higher
British Columbia 97 99 95 98 92 90 89
Alberta 99 99.9 99 99.8 95 94 93
Saskatchewan 91 99 85 91 76 61 59
Manitoba 98 99.7 95 96 85 74 74
Ontario 99 99.8 98 99.6 96 94 94
Quebec 97 99 96 98 91 86 86
New Brunswick 97 99.7 96 99 94 94 94
Nova Scotia 99.8 99.9 87 99 84 83 81
Prince Edward Island 93 99.9 77 99.9 61 61 55
Newfoundland and Labrador 85 97 81 93 69 69 60
Yukon 97 97 97 97 69 69 62
Northwest Territories 97 97 92 92 72 72 48
Nunavut 99.9 99.9 29 29 0 0 0

Sources: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

Not all provinces/territories have the same access to broadband services. This table shows the regional availability by broadband technology, by province and territory, in 2015. The availability of broadband services vary from province to province. The provinces of New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have arrangements to provide broadband services at 1.5 Mbps via satellite under terms and conditions similar to those for wireline services. In the province of Prince Edward Island, HSPA+ is available to households without access to other means of broadband services under terms and conditions equivalent to those for wireline services. Since satellite service has a national footprint, it is excluded from this table.

Figure 5.3.13 Broadband service availability – Urban vs. rural (% of households), 2015

Stacked column chart of Figure 5.3.13: Broadband availability – Urban vs. broadband (% of households), 2015
Text Description of Image

This stacked column chart shows broadband availability, by size of community and speed. Large population centers: 1.5-4.9 Mbps: 100%, 5-9.9 Mbps: 100%, 10-15.9 Mbps: 100%, 16-24.9 Mbps: 100%, 25-29.9 Mbps: 100%, 30-49.9 Mbps: 99%, 50-99.9 Mbps: 99%, 100+ Mbps: 93%. Medium population centers: 1.5-4.9 Mbps: 100%, 5-9.9 Mbps: 100%, 10-15.9 Mbps: 100%, 16-24.9 Mbps: 99%, 25-29.9 Mbps: 99%, 30-49.9 Mbps: 98%, 50-99.9 Mbps: 97%, 100+ Mbps: 91%. Small population centers: 1.5-4.9 Mbps: 100%, 5-9.9 Mbps: 99%, 10-15.9 Mbps: 96%, 16-24.9 Mbps: 92%, 25-29.9 Mbps: 90%, 30-49.9 Mbps: 84%, 50-99.9 Mbps: 81%, 100+ Mbps: 67%. Broadband areas: 1.5-4.9 Mbps: 90%, 5-9.9 Mbps: 81%, 10-15.9 Mbps: 64%, 16-24.9 Mbps: 52%, 25-29.9 Mbps: 50%, 30-49.9 Mbps: 31%, 50-99.9 Mbps: 29%, 100+ Mbps: 24%. HSPA+ addition to small centres for 1.5-4.9 Mbps, 0%, addition to rural areas for 1.5-4.9 Mbps: 8%; LTE addition to small and medium centres for 5-9.9 Mbps: 0%, addition to rural areas for 5-9 Mbps: 12%.

Sources: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

This table shows the percentage of Canadian households in large, medium, and small population centres, as well as in rural areas, that can access various broadband services.

Small population centres are considered to have populations of between 1,000 and 29,000. Medium population centres are considered to have populations of between 30,000 and 99,999. Large population centres are considered to have populations greater than 100,000. Rural areas have populations of less than 1,000, or fewer than 400 people per square kilometre.

The HSPA+ and LTE bars show the additional effect that inclusion of these technologies would have on the respective categories.

Satellite services are excluded as they have a national footprint.

Table 5.3.17 Adoption of various video technologies in Canada (% of households)
Technology Language market 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Internet TV Anglophones 34 38 44 51 57
Francophones 38 39 44 42 49
Internet video on cell/smartphone Anglophones 12 14 23 38 50
Francophones 8 8 16 27 37
Internet use on tablet Anglophones n/a 29 37 44 45
Francophones n/a 15 28 37 43
Internet video on tablet Anglophones 6 11 20 26 34
Francophones 3 7 16 25 34

Source: MTM 2011-2015 (Respondents: Canadians 18+)

This table shows the rates of adoption and growth of various video technologies among Canadian consumers. Over the past 5 years, the popularity of video and television streaming to personal electronic devices has grown greatly.

Figure 5.3.14 ISPs found on the CRTC’s online search tool “You have choices” by province

Circular chart of Figure 5.3.14: ISPs found on the CRTC’s online search tool “You have choices” by province
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the number of residential ISPs found per province for the “You have choices tool”. Ont.: 144; Que.: 98; B.C.: 69; Alta.: 67; Man.: 32; N.S.: 29; Sask.: 26; P.E.I.: 18; N.B.: 18; N.L.: 18; Y.T.: 3; N.W.T: 3.

Source: You Have Choices

This figure shows the number of unique ISPs providing residential Internet service in each province’s CMA/CAs in the “You have choices” tool.

5.4 Data and private line retail sector

Infographic summarizing section 5.4 – Data and private line retail sector
Infographic summarizing section 5.4 – Data and private line retail sector
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the data and private line retail sector and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the retail data and private line revenues as a percentage of retail telecommunications revenues in 2015. Data and private line: 8%. Total telecommunications retail revenues were $43.9 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $3.4 billion, a decrease of 3.9% over 2014. Third indicator: incumbent market share of total revenues: 73%. Fourth indicator: forborne data: 98% of revenues. Fifth indicator: forborne private line: 84% of revenues. Sixth indicator: forborne private line: 6,081 routes, an increase of 0.4% over 2014.

Data and private line services refer to those services sold by TSPs to business customers for the transmission of data, video, and/or voice traffic. These communications channels provide private, highly secure communications between locations.

Canadian businesses were served by approximately 191 entities offering data and private line services in 2015. Of these, incumbent telecommunications service providers (incumbent TSPs or incumbent providers) accounted for approximately 15%, and alternative service providers, such as cable-based carriers, utility telcos, and resellers, accounted for the remaining 85%.

Data services are packet-based services that intelligently switch data through carrier networks. They make use of (a) new data protocols such as Ethernet and IP, or (b) legacy protocols such as X.25, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), and frame relay to transmit data.

These services are provided by both incumbent TSPs and their competition, with competitors having around 29% of the total market, including network management and equipment. Notable is the increase over time in the activity of cable-based carriers in the newer protocol space.

Private line services provide a non-switched dedicated communications connection between two or more points to transport data, video, and/or voice traffic. These services include high-capacity digital transmission services and digital data systems, as well as voice-grade and other analog systems. Transmission facilities include copper wire and fibre-optic cable. Private line services make use of transmission facilities such as OC-3 fibre optic lines, DS-1 copper facilities, etc.

In the private line space, the market is dominated by the incumbent TSPs. Of the alternative service providers, independent operators are the largest provider category.

i) Revenues

Table 5.4.1 Data and private line retail revenues ($ millions)
Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Data Data protocols 1,832 1,893 1,917 1,952 1,919 -1.7 1.2
Other 734 796 832 857 779 -9.2 1.5
Total data protocols and other 2,566 2,689 2,749 2,809 2,698 -4.0 1.3
Private line Total 751 793 834 784 754 -3.8 0.1
Total data and private line Total 3,317 3,482 3,583 3,593 3,452 -3.9 1.0

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows retail data and private line revenues for the years from 2011 to 2015. Data services were classified into one of two categories: (a) services making use of data protocols such as Ethernet and IP, X.25, ATM, and frame relay; or (b) other services such as network management and networking equipment.

Due to a change in company reporting, other data revenues may not be comparable to previous years. This creates a loss of approximately 6% of other revenues in 2015.

Table 5.4.2 Retail data service revenues, by classification of data protocol used ($ millions)
Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
New Protocols Ethernet 479 483 483 465 456 -1.9 -1.2
IP 1,124 1,190 1,218 1,284 1,284 0.0 3.4
Other 126 154 167 171 158 -7.7 5.8
Total 1,729 1,826 1,868 1,920 1,898 -1.1 2.4
Legacy Protocols Total 104 67 49 32 21 -34.8 -32.8
Total data protocols Total 1,832 1,893 1,917 1,952 1,919 -1.7 1.2

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the retail data service revenues realized by service providers. The data services were classified as services making use of (a) new data protocols such as Ethernet and IP or (b) legacy protocols such as X.25, ATM, and frame relay. The table charts growth in these revenues over the period from 2011 to 2015.

Table 5.4.3 Private line retail revenues, by type of service provider ($ millions)
Type Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Incumbent TSPs Total 670 652 683 634 604 -4.6 -2.6
Alternative service providers Cable-based carriers 48 49 54 61 62 2.6 6.8
Others 33 92 97 90 87 -2.8 27.9
Total 80 141 151 150 149 -0.6 16.7
Total private line Total 751 793 834 784 754 -3.8 0.1

Source: CRTC data collection

ii) Competitive landscape

Although incumbent TSPs accounted for only approximately 15% of the entities providing data and private line services, they captured 73% of retail revenues. The remaining 85% of entities providing these services, consisting of cable-based carriers, other carriers, and resellers, accounted for 27% of retail revenues.

Figure 5.4.1 Retail data and private line revenue market share (%), by TSP

Circular charts of Figure 5.4.1: Retail data and private line revenue market share (%), by TSP
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the percentage revenue market share of various industry participant groups for the retail data and private line market for 2011 and 2015. For 2011: Incumbent TSPs: 81%; Cable-based carriers: 6%; Others: 14%. For 2015: Incumbent TSPs: 73%; Cable-based carriers: 11%; Others: 16%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Due to a change in company reporting, Incumbent TSPs were reduced by 1.5% market share in 2015.

Figure 5.4.2 Retail data service revenue market share (%), by TSP

Circular charts of Figure 5.4.2: Retail data service revenue market share (%), by TSP
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts describe the percentage revenue market share of various industry participant groups for the retail data market for 2011 and 2015. For 2011: Incumbent TSPs: 78%; Cable-based carriers: 6%; Others: 16%. For 2015: Incumbent TSPs: 71%; Cable-based carriers: 12%; Others: 17%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Due to a change in company reporting, Incumbent TSPs were reduced by 2% market share in 2015.

Table 5.4.4 Retail data service revenue market share (%), by service provider and by classification of data protocol used
Protocol Type of service provider Service provider subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
New data protocols Incumbent TSPs Total 72 67 66 66 66
Alternative service providers Cable-based carriers 7 10 12 12 13
Others 21 23 22 22 21
Total 28 33 34 34 34
Legacy data protocols Incumbent TSPs Total 68 62 61 63 67
Alternative service providers Total 32 38 39 37 33
All data protocols Incumbent TSPs Total 72 67 66 66 66
Alternative service providers Total 28 33 34 34 34

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the percentage of retail data revenues realized by service providers through the use of new and legacy data protocols.

Table 5.4.5 Retail private line revenue market share (%)
Service provider type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Incumbent TSPs 89 82 82 81 82
Cable-based carriers 6 6 6 8 8
Others 4 12 12 11 10

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the revenue shares for the incumbent TSPs when providing service to their business customers, both within and outside of their traditional geographic areas, and for alternative service providers (i.e. cable-based carriers, utility telcos, and resellers), for the years from 2011 to 2015. Incumbent TSPs continue to dominate in this service category.

5.5 Wireless retail sector

Infographic summarizing section 5.5 – Wireless retail sector
Infographic summarizing section 5.5 – Wireless retail sector
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the wireless retail sector and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the retail wireless: 51% as a percentage of retail telecommunications revenues in 2015. Total telecommunications retail revenues were $43.9 billion. Second indicator: revenues: $22.5 billion, an increase of 7.5% over 2014. Third indicator: subscriber market share of the top 3 wireless service providers: 90%. Fourth indicator: average revenue per subscriber per month: $64, an increase of 5.0% over 2014. Fifth indicator: percent of Canadian subscribers subscribing to at least 1 GB data plan: 46%, an increase from 44% in 2014.

The wireless retail market remained the largest communications market sector with revenues of $22.5 billion and a growth rate of 7.5% or $1.6 billion in 2015.

Canada’s wireless networks enable Canadians to access services that are comparable to wireline services. Wireless service providers (WSPs) provide voice, data, Internet, and video services. The differentiating factors for these services tend to be mobility and price. Based on MTM statistics, the three most popular activities by Canadian smartphone owners were text messages, Internet access, and email.

Wireless networks cover approximately 20% of Canada’s geographic land mass and reach 99% of Canadians. The advanced wireless network that supports handsets, such as smartphones, tablets, and turbo sticks, is also available to 99.3% of Canadians. The long-term evolution (LTE) network, which delivers even higher speeds than previous generation networks, is available to approximately 97.4% of Canadians. Not only were these networks serving over 29.7 million Canadian subscribers, there were also over 3.0 million machine-to-machine connections reported in 2015, an increase of 19% from 2014.

In addition to advanced wireless networks such as LTE which provide broadband Internet access, wireless service providers have significantly increased the number of publicly available WiFi hotspot locations (free and for-pay) across the county from 14,000 at the end of 2014 to over 21,000 by the end of 2015. This provided Canadians an additional method of accessing voice and data communication services on their handheld and other wireless communication devices. WiFi hot spots also provide wireless subscribers a means to minimize potential roaming charges.

Over the past five years, the percentage of Canadian who subscribed to wireless services increased from 80% to 82%, however, the subscriber growth rate has declined from 5.9% to 3.4%. At the same time, Canadians have shifted the way in which they use their mobile devices, by placing an emphasis on data usage rather than voice services. Canadians’ appetite to access mobile applications, multi-media services, social networking, Internet browsing, and other data intensive activities have driven smartphone adoption rates higher and wireless data revenue growth to over 15.7% in 2015, and, on average, 18.8% over the past five years.

In 2013, the Wireless Code came into effect, ensuring that consumers of wireless services could better understand their contracts, establishing consumer-friendly business practices, significantly limiting the early cancellation fees that were previously sought by retail wireless service providers; and enabling consumers to take advantage of competitive offers at least every two years. In 2015, approximately 86% of post-paid plans had contracts that were equal to or less than two years in length, compared to 67% in 2014 and 44% in 2013.

In terms of provider choice, Canadians were served by three large national WSPs, collectively accounting for 90% of wireless service subscribers. A number of smaller, regional, facilities-based WSPs and a small number of mobile virtual network operators and resellers accounted for the remaining 10%. In both urban centres and rural communities, Canadians generally had a choice of between two and six WSPs.

After the sale of the 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2014, the Government of Canada took additional measures in early 2015 to encourage greater competition in the wireless market by releasing 50 MHz of spectrum in an auction for advanced wireless services (AWS-3) in the bands of 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz. As a result, five companies invested $2.1 billion in AWS-3 spectrum and 39 licences were issued in 2015. The amount of capital investment as a percentage of total wireless revenues, or capital intensity, dropped to 22% in 2015 compared to 35% in 2014 largely due to higher investment spending on spectrum in 2014.

In 2015, the Commission published Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177 which determined that it is necessary to regulate rates that Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications and TELUS Communications Company charge other wireless carriers for domestic Global System for Mobile communications (GSM)-based wholesale roaming. These regulations will facilitate sustainable competition and provide benefits to Canadians, such as reasonable prices and innovative services, as well as continued innovation and investment in high-quality mobile wireless networks. In the decision, the Commission expressed its intent to monitor the competitive conditions in the mobile wireless market.

i) Revenues

Figure 5.5.1 Wireless service revenue and subscriber growth rates (excluding paging)

Line chart of Figure 5.5.1: Wireless service revenue and subscriber growth rates (excluding paging)
Text Description of Image

This line chart shows the mobile wireless revenue and subscriber percentage growth for each year between 2011 and 2015. Wireless revenue growth: 5.0%, 6.2%, 3.5%, 3.7%, 7.6%. Subscriber: 5.9%, 3.3%, 2.3%, 1.5%, 3.4%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows revenue and subscriber growth rates for WSPs from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, the wireless revenue growth rate climbed to its highest level in more than five years to 7.6% and subscriber growth rate rebounded to 3.4%.

Table 5.5.1 Retail wireless and paging service revenues ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireless 18,368.6 19,504.8 20,179.3 20,927.9 22,511.7 7.6 5.2
Paging 38.2 21.8 18.4 17.3 12.6 -26.9 -24.1
Total revenues 18,406.7 19,526.6 20,197.7 20,945.2 22,524.3 7.5 5.2

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the revenue for the wireless and paging service markets from 2011 to 2015. Annual growth rates for wireless services (excluding paging) can be found in the figure 5.5.1.

Table 5.5.2 Retail wireless and paging service revenue components ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Basic voice 9,816.5 9,486.8 8,818.7 8,665.5 8,689.0 0.3 -3.0
Long distance 1,286.2 1,255.6 1,160.3 880.4 656.1 -25.5 -15.5
Paging 38.2 21.8 18.4 17.3 12.6 -26.9 -24.1
Terminal equipment including handheld devices 1,401.9 1,532.8 1,501.5 1,673.7 2,129.8 27.3 11.0
Data 5,046.1 6,233.2 7,546.1 8,672.6 10,034.9 15.7 18.8
Roaming and other 817.8 996.3 1,152.8 1,035.7 1,001.9 -3.3 5.2
Data, roaming, and other 5,863.9 7,229.5 8,698.8 9,708.3 11,036.8 13.7 17.1
Total 18,406.7 19,526.6 20,197.7 20,945.2 22,524.3 7.5 5.2

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the service revenue components of the wireless market for the years 2011 to 2015. These components include voice, long distance, paging, hardware, data, roaming, and other. Mobile television revenues are included within data revenues.

Table 5.5.3 Prepaid and postpaid retail wireless service revenues (basic voice, long distance, and data) ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Prepaid 978.2 877.3 790.4 871.6 879.8 0.9 -2.6
Postpaid 14,957.3 15,762.3 16,303.6 17,179.5 18,345.8 6.8 5.2
Total 15,935.5 16,639.6 17,094.0 18,051.1 19,225.6 6.5 4.8

Source: CRTC data collection

Canadians have a choice of either prepaid or post-paid wireless services. With prepaid services, a significant portion of services and usage is paid prior to consuming the services. With post-paid services, a significant portion of services and usage is paid subsequent to consuming the services.

Figure 5.5.2 Roaming revenues, by type and destination, 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.2: Roaming revenues, by type and destination, 2015
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the percentage of voice and data roaming revenues that were derived within Canada, the United States, and internationally (SMS and MMS revenues were excluded). Canada voice: 2%; Canada data: 2%; the United States voice: 66%; the United States data: 65%; International voice: 32%; International data: 33%.

Source: CRTC data collection

WSPs extend their coverage area to areas where they do not have facilities by making arrangements with other WSPs that do have facilities in those areas to offer service to their end-users. When a subscriber uses the facilities of another WSP, the subscriber is said to be “roaming.” This graph shows the percentage of roaming-out revenues that were derived within Canada, the United States, and internationally. SMS and MMS revenues were excluded from the data revenue component within this particular figure.

While 61% of voice roaming and 48% of data roaming happens within Canada (as shown in Figure 5.5.24), the revenues mainly come from roaming in the United States (65%).

ii) Subscriber data

Table 5.5.4 Number of wireless and paging service subscriptions (thousands)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireless 26,844.3 27,720.6 28,363.8 28,788.9 29,765.4 3.4 2.6
Paging 219.0 186.3 161.5 146.7 161.5 10.1 -7.3

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the number of subscribers to wireless and paging services between 2011 and 2015. From 2011 to 2015, there have been a steady increase in wireless subscribers, while paging has generally declined.

Table 5.5.5 Post-paid wireless service subscribers as a percentage of total wireless service subscribers (%)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Post-paid 78 81 83 86 86

Source: CRTC data collection

Canadians subscribing to wireless services favour postpaid services.

Figure 5.5.3 Percentage of wireless service contracts, by duration

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.3: Percent of wireless service contracts, by duration
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the percentage of postpaid plans that were under contract for less than 1 year, for 1 to 2 years, and for greater than 2 years in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Less than 1 year: 24.0%, 28.5%, 36.2%; 1 to 2 years: 19.5%, 38.1%, 50.1%; Greater than 2 years: 56.4%, 33.4%, 13.7%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This chart shows the percentage of post-paid plans that were under contract for less than 1 year, for 1 to 2 years, and for greater than 2 years.

With the implementation of the Wireless Code in 2013, the percentage of post-paid plans with contracts of more than 2-years has declined significantly.

Figure 5.5.4 Total and daily number of MMS and SMS messages

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.4: Total and daily number of MMS and SMS messages
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the total and daily number of SMS and MMS messages for each year between 2012 and 2015. SMS and MMS: 201B, 194B, 186B, 195B; SMS and MMS daily: 551M, 531M, 510M, 533M.

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the growth in the number of messages sent and received by Canadians via SMS and MMS per day and annually for the period 2011 to 2015. The total number of SMS and MMS messages was restated for 2012 to include estimates for a company that was overlooked.

Multi-media messaging service (MMS)

Multi-media messaging service (MMS) is similar to SMS, but it enables the transmission of multimedia content, such as pictures and videos, between subscribers.

Short message service (SMS)

Short message service (SMS) enables the transmission of text messages of up to 160 characters in length between subscribers.

Table 5.5.6 Average monthly SMS/MMS (messages/month) and data (MB/month) usage
Metric 2014 2015
Average data usage per subscriber (MB/month) 641 921
Average data usage per subscriber with a data plan (MB/month) 988 1,320
Average number of SMS/MMS per subscriber (messages/month) 547 548

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the average mobile data usage across all retail subscribers and the average data usage among those subscribers who subscribed to a data plan.

The average wireless data usage per subscriber and subscriber who subscribed to a data plan were calculated by dividing total retail data usage (upload/download data) for the year by the average number of subscribers at the beginning and at the end of the year. Subscribers who subscribed to a data plan were classified as those who subscribed to voice and data and data-only plans.

Table 5.5.7 Average revenue per 1 GB data/month ($)
Metric 2015
1 GB of data usage 31.29

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the average revenues generated from 1 GB of data usage per month. To derive this number, only companies that provided both data traffic and revenues were included in the calculation.

iii) Competitive landscape

Figure 5.5.5 TSPs’ wireless subscriber market share

Circular charts of Figure 5.5.5: TSPs’ wireless subscriber market share
Text Description of Image

These side by side circular charts show the mobile wireless subscriber market share of Rogers, Bell Group, Telus and Others for 2014 and 2015, respectively. Rogers: 33%, 33%; Bell Group: 29%, 28%; Telus: 28%, 29%; Others: 10%, 10%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These charts show the percentage of subscribers to wireless services in 2014 and 2015 for Canada’s three major TSPs: the Bell Group of companies (Bell Group), Rogers Communications Partnership (Rogers), and TELUS. Collectively, Bell, Rogers, and TELUS had 90% of wireless subscribers in 2014 and 2015.

The “Other” category includes TSPs such as MTS Allstream, SaskTel, other small TSPs, as well as, the remaining new entrants that acquired spectrum in Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s 2008 AWS spectrum auction and were still operating as a competitor to Bell Group, Telus and/or Rogers in 2014.

The “Bell Group” category includes Bell Canada; Bell Mobility; Latitude Wireless; NorthernTel, Limited Partnership; Northwestel Mobility; Télébec, Limited Partnership; and KMTS. As of 2013, Public Mobile’s figures were included with those of TELUS. In 2015, Data & Audio Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc.’s (Mobilicity) figures were included with those of Rogers.

Figure 5.5.6 TSPs’ wireless service revenue market share

Circular charts of Figure 5.5.6: TSPs’ wireless service revenue market share
Text Description of Image

These side by side circular charts show the mobile wireless revenue market share of Rogers, Bell Group, Telus and Others for 2014 and 2015, respectively. Rogers: 34%, 34%; Bell Group: 29%, 29%; Telus: 29%, 29%; Others: 8%, 8%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These charts show the percentage of revenues from wireless services in 2014 and 2015 for Canada’s three major TSPs: the Bell Group, Rogers, and TELUS. Collectively, Rogers, Bell, and Telus had 92% of all wireless revenues in 2014 and 2015.

Figure 5.5.7 Percentage of revenues and subscribers derived via primary brands, extension brands, and resellers/rebillers

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.7: Percentage of revenues and subscribers derived via primary brands, extension brands, and resellers/rebillers
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the percentage of revenues and subscribers garnered through primary brands, extension brands, and resellers/rebiller arrangements for 2014 and 2015. Primary brands: 82%, 72%; 80%, 73%; Extension brands: 17%, 28%; 19%, 25%; Resellers/Rebillers: 1%, 1%; 1%, 1%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Canadian WSPs market wireless services through primary and extension brands. By marketing their services through various market segments, WSPs are able to differentiate service offerings to potentially affect the competitive landscape in regional markets. This graph depicts the revenues and subscribers garnered through primary brands, extension brands, and reseller/rebiller arrangements.

Extension brands are brand names created by companies to serve specific customer needs. These names are in addition to the companies’ established or main brand. Extension brands are sometimes referred to as “flanker brands.” Some Canadian flanker brands include Fido, Solo, and Koodo. Resellers/rebillers are companies that rely mainly on the large, facilities-based operators to package, market, bill, and deliver their mobile services, e.g., PC mobile, Petro-Canada Mobility, and SpeakOut 7-Eleven.

Table 5.5.8 Wireless service subscriber market share, by province and territory (2015) (%)
Province/territory Bell Group TELUS Rogers Other
British Columbia 20 42 37 0
Alberta 25 53 23 0
Saskatchewan 15 13 5 66
Manitoba 8 7 36 49
Ontario 30 22 47 1
Quebec 31 28 28 13
New Brunswick 57 26 17 0
Nova Scotia 54 33 12 0
Prince Edward Island 57 31 12 0
Newfoundland and Labrador 71 27 1 0
The North 99 0 0 1

Source: CRTC data collection

Canada’s major WSPs have different shares of the provincial wireless markets. This table displays the market shares owned by the major WSPs, excluding Wind and Eastlink, in Canada’s provinces and territories.

The three major WSPs have the largest market share across all provinces and territories except Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“The North” includes Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Table 5.5.9 Average monthly churn rates (%)
Service provider 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Bell Mobility 2.0 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.5
Rogers Communications 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.6
TELUS 1.7 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.3

Sources: Companies’ annual reports and CRTC data collection

This table shows the average churn rate for three major WSPs from 2011 to 2015. Customers may leave their WSP for a number of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the service, taking advantage of competitive offers, and pricing issues.

The average churn rate

The average churn rate is a measure of subscriber turnover. It is derived by dividing the number of subscribers that have left a wireless service by the total number of wireless service subscribers. The higher the number the more people are changing provider.

iv) Technology indicators

The following tables and charts indicate the extent to which Canadians are adapting to a digital communication system. Smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices that provide access to the Internet are continually increasing demand for wireless capacity.

Figure 5.5.8 Mobile device penetration

Bar chart of Figures 5.5.8: Mobile device penetration
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the percentage of Anglophones and Francophones owning the following mobile devices from 2011 to 2015: Cellphones from 2011 to 2015: 77%, 80%, 83%, 83%, 86%; Smartphones from 2011 to 2015: 37%, 51%, 62%, 66%, 73%; Tablet from 2011 to 2015: 10%, 26%, 39%, 49%, 52%.

Source: MTM 2015 (Respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

This graph shows the percentage of Canadians, 18 years of age and older, who owned regular cell phones, smartphones, and tablets, from 2011 to 2015. The use of smartphones and tablets increases the volume of data traffic on the network.

Table 5.5.10 Mobile device penetration, by linguistic group (%)
Mobile device 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Anglo Franco Anglo Franco Anglo Franco Anglo Franco Anglo Franco
Cellphone 80 68 83 71 86 74 86 75 89 78
Smartphone 41 26 55 39 66 49 69 54 77 61
Tablet 12 6 28 17 42 30 51 41 53 48

Source: MTM 2015 (Respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

This table shows the percentage of Francophones and Anglophones in Canada who own cellphones, smartphones, and tablets, from 2011 to 2015. Cellphone owners include people who own either a cellphone or a smartphone.

Figure 5.5.9 Mobile device penetration, by region, 2015

Clustered horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.9: Mobile device penetration, by region, 2015
Text Description of Image

This clustered horizontal bar chart shows the percentage of Canadians owning the following mobile devices in 2015 broken down by region: Regular cellphones: 10% (British Columbia), 9% (Alberta), 11% (Manitoba/Saskatchewan), 12% (Ontario), 14% (Quebec), 10% (Atlantic), 12% (Total); Smartphones: 77%, 83%, 74%, 76%, 64%, 70%, 73%; Tablets: 52%, 54%, 55%, 54%, 49%, 48%, 52%.

Source: MTM 2015 (Respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

Canadians who reside in the western provinces are generally more likely to adopt smartphones and tablets than Canadians who reside in the eastern provinces.

Table 5.5.11 Number and percentage of subscribers with a data plan, by province and territory
Province/territory 2014 2015 Growth (%) of number of subscribers with a data plan
Number of subscribers with a data plan (000’s) Percentage of total subscribers with a data plan (%) Number of subscribers with a data plan (000’s) Percentage of subscribers with a data plan (%)
British Columbia 2,559 13 3,021 14 18.0
Alberta 2,657 14 3,069 14 15.5
Saskatchewan 653 3 720 3 10.2
Manitoba 864 4 900 4 4.2
Ontario 7,999 41 8,825 40 10.3
Quebec 3,450 18 4,099 19 18.8
New Brunswick 358 2 403 2 12.7
Nova Scotia 479 2 552 3 15.2
Prince Edward Island 70 0 80 0 14.5
Newfoundland and Labrador 289 1 327 1 13.3
The North 55 0 62 0 12.6

Source: CRTC data collection

The number of subscribers who subscribed to a data plan is a measure of the extent to which Canadians are participating in the digital economy, and provides an indication of the extent to which Canadians are adopting advanced handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets.

This table shows the number of subscribers who subscribed to a data plan in each region of the country in 2014 and 2015, as well as the number of subscribers with a data plan expressed as a percentage of all mobile subscribers.

Figure 5.5.10 Mobile data-only plan revenues and subscribers, by data plan capacity, 2015

Circular charts of Figure 5.5.10: Mobile data-only plan revenues and subscribers, by data plan capacity, 2015
Text Description of Image

These side by side circular charts show the percent of revenues and subscribers for mobile data only plan for three categories, less than 501 MB, between 501 MB and 2 GB and greater than 2 GB. Revenues: 62%, 12% and 26%; Subscribers: 81%, 5% and 14%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These charts show the percentages of revenues and subscribers realized by WSPs by data plan capacity in 2015. Of the total number of subscribers, 6% were reported to be data-only subscribers.

Data-only plans include built-in and portable access devices, such as hubs, sticks, dongles, and laptops.

Figure 5.5.11 Percentage of mobile revenues from voice vs. voice and data vs. data-only plans, 2015

Circular chart of Figure 5.5.11: Percentage of mobile revenues from voice vs. voice and data vs. data-only plans, 2015
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the percent of revenues by type of mobile plan in 2015. Voice: 15%; Voice and data: 82%; Data-only: 3%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This chart shows the percentage of revenues that WSPs derive from customers who subscribe to voice plans, voice and data plans, and data-only plans in 2015.

Table 5.5.12 Mobile broadband subscribers by type of plan
Type Metric 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Voice and data Number of subscribers (millions) 12.0 13.0 16.1 17.7 20.2 14.4 13.9
Percentage of all subscribers (%) 44 47 57 61 68 10.7 11.6
Data-only Number of subscribers (millions) 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.6 1.8 12.8 11.5
Percentage of all subscribers (%) 4 5 5 6 6 9.1 9.2
Total Number of subscribers (millions) 13.2 14.3 17.6 19.3 22.0 14.3 13.7
Percentage of all subscribers (%) 48 51 62 67 74 10.5 11.3

Source: CRTC data collection

From 2011 to 2015, Canadians increasingly used broadband technology on mobile devices.

Figure 5.5.12 Percentage of mobile subscriber, by type of plans, 2015

Circular charts of Figure 5.5.12 Percentage of mobile subscribers, by type of plans, 2015
Text Description of Image

These side by side bar charts show the percentage of wireless subscribers with and without a data plan and the percent distribution of subscribers with a data plan, by size of the plan. No data plan: 26%; data plan: 74%. Size of data plan: less than 300MB: 12%; 300 MB-999 MB: 17%; 1 GB-2 GB: 36%; greater than 2 GB: 35%.

Source: CRTC data collection

The data reported in this dual bar chart represents over 90% of total mobile subscribers. The chart on the left shows the percentage of subscribers with and without a data plan. The chart on the right shows the percent distribution of subscribers with a data plan, by size of the plan. Due to the difficulty of reporting corresponding voice and SMS services associated with each defined data plan, the assumption was made that all data plans included voice and text messaging services.

Figure 5.5.13 Popular Internet and mobile activities performed by Canadians on their smartphone, 2015

Clustered bar chart of Figure 5.5.13: Popular Internet and mobile activities performed by Canadians on their smartphone, 2015
Text Description of Image

This clustered bar chart shows the percentage of Anglophone and Francophone Canadians who reported engaging in the following activities on their smartphone in 2015. Made an online purchase: (Anglophones) 23%, (Francophones) 24%; Banking online: 44%, 35%; Read online news: 46%, 49%; Access social networking: 63%, 66%; Access Internet: 87%, 83%; Send/receive email: 70%, 64%.

Source: MTM 2015, spring 2016 (Respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

This graph shows the activities that Francophones and Anglophones carry out using their smartphones.

Figure 5.5.14 Popular Internet and mobile activities performed by Canadians on their tablet, 2015

Clustered bar chart of Figure 5.5.14: Popular Internet and mobile activities performed by Canadians on their tablet, 2015
Text Description of Image

This clustered bar chart shows the percentage of Anglophone and Francophone Canadians who reported engaging in the following activities on their tablet in 2015. Made an online purchase: (Anglophones) 23%, (Francophones) 27%; Banking online: 25%, 33%; Read online news: 37%, 52%; Access social networking: 46%, 60%; Access Internet: 85%, 87%; Send/receive email: 53%, 57%.

Source: MTM 2015, spring 2016 (Respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

v) Performance indicators

Table 5.5.13 Average wireless service revenue per subscriber
Metric 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Average wireless service revenue per subscriber ($/month) 58.7 59.6 60.0 61.0 64.1 2.2
Annual growth (%) -1.7 1.6 0.7 1.8 5.0 2.2

Source: CRTC data collection

Average wireless service revenue per subscriber is a useful measure of the revenues WSPs receive per subscriber. Conversely, from a consumer perspective, it is a measure of consumers’ expenditures on wireless services. This table shows the average revenue per user for wireless services for the years 2011 to 2015.

The average wireless service revenue per subscriber was calculated by dividing total annual wireless service revenues by the average number of subscribers during the year. The result was then divided by twelve to obtain a monthly result. The average number of subscribers was determined by dividing the sum of the number of subscribers at the beginning and at the end of the year by two.

Table 5.5.14 Average wireless service revenues per subscriber, by province and territory (excluding paging) ($)
Province/territory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
British Columbia 63.84 62.55 63.42 62.48 67.32 1.3
Alberta 75.82 72.82 74.10 75.01 76.48 0.2
Saskatchewan 53.51 57.83 58.72 62.16 64.45 4.8
Manitoba 53.07 54.99 59.42 60.97 63.21 4.5
Ontario 58.18 60.60 58.93 59.50 61.56 1.4
Quebec 51.08 51.46 53.69 53.58 56.92 2.7
New Brunswick 53.15 54.62 55.65 55.56 58.95 2.6
Nova Scotia 55.26 57.22 58.15 56.98 63.02 3.3
Prince Edward Island 52.01 55.47 52.86 51.62 57.73 2.6
Newfoundland and Labrador 53.86 58.70 60.61 61.18 68.90 6.3
The North 105.43 94.31 135.44 81.09 92.37 -3.3

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the average revenue per user for WSPs in each region of the country for the years 2011 to 2015 based on provincial revenue and subscriber data reported, but excludes Wind and Eastlink’s revenues and subscribers in the 2015 analysis. Estimates were made for companies that were not required to provide provincial and territorial data.

vi) Price

The price structure of wireless services is based on usage. To assess the price of wireless services in urban centres and in rural communities, four baskets were used and both flanker and primary service brands were considered. These baskets were adopted from the report on Price Comparisons of Wireline, Wireless and Internet Services in Canada and with Foreign Jurisdictions (2014).

Most noticeable changes in 2015 compared to 2014 were the increased price variance between the lowest and highest price in the level 2 and 3 baskets and the shift in the number of WSPs in various service baskets and community centres. A decrease in the number of providers in a number of areas was mainly due to consolidation in the wireless market sector.

What is the report on Price Comparisons of Wireline, Wireless and Internet Services in Canada and with Foreign Jurisdictions?

This report provides a 2016 update to the previous annual telecommunications price comparison studies conducted over the period from 2008 to 2016 for the CRTC and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

The individual services covered by the study include wireline, mobile wireless, broadband Internet, and mobile Internet services.

For more information, please consult the following link:

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/compar/compar2016.htm

Urban centres

Urban centres having four or more WSPs generally had the largest price variance between the lowest and highest price reported, as well as the lowest prices in each of the four service baskets. The variance between lowest and highest prices across all service baskets in any given urban centre was wide, ranging from a low of $3 to a high of $33. The average price variances between lowest and highest prices for the Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 service baskets were $6, $13, $22, and $21, respectively.

Figures 5.5.15 to 5.5.18 display the range in the monthly price of a Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 wireless service basket in 24 urban centres in Canada. The number at the end of each bar is the highest price. The number appearing in parentheses along the vertical axis after the name of each urban centre represents the number of local WSPs.

Figure 5.5.15 Price of a Level 1 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.15: Price of a Level 1 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 1 basket of wireless service by major centre, as well as number of providers in each centre. Vancouver: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Victoria: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Calgary: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Edmonton: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Saskatoon: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Regina: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Winnipeg: 4 providers, low 25, high 35; Toronto: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Ottawa-Gatineau: 5 providers, low 21, high 30; Hamilton: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; London: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Kitchener-Waterloo: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; St Catharines – Niagara: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Windsor: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Oshawa: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Montréal: 4 providers, low 21, high 30; Québec: 4 providers, low 21, high 30; Fredericton: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Charlottetown: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Halifax: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; St. John’s: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Whitehorse: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; Yellowknife: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; Iqaluit: 2 providers, low 29, high 35.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.16 Price of a Level 2 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.16: Price of a Level 2 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 2 basket of wireless service by major centre, as well as number of providers in each centre. Vancouver: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Victoria: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; Calgary: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Edmonton: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Saskatoon: 4 providers, low 30, high 41; Regina: 4 providers, low 30, high 41; Winnipeg: 4 providers, low 29, high 46; Toronto: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Ottawa-Gatineau: 5 providers, low 29, high 42; Hamilton: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; London: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Kitchener-Waterloo: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; St Catharines – Niagara: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Windsor: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Oshawa: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Montréal: 4 providers, low 29, high 42; Québec: 4 providers, low 29, high 42; Fredericton: 3 providers, low 30, high 40; Charlottetown: 4 providers, low 30, high 45; Halifax: 4 providers, low 30, high 45; St. John’s: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; Whitehorse: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; Yellowknife: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; Iqaluit: 2 providers, low 29, high 50.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.17 Price of a Level 3 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.17: Price of a Level 3 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 3 basket of wireless service by major centre, as well as number of providers in each centre. Vancouver: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Victoria: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; Calgary: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Edmonton: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Saskatoon: 4 providers, low 45, high 76; Regina: 4 providers, low 45, high 76; Winnipeg: 4 providers, low 48, high 81; Toronto: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Ottawa-Gatineau: 5 providers, low 38, high 68; Hamilton: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; London: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Kitchener-Waterloo: 4 providers, low 38 high 68; St Catharines – Niagara: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Windsor: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Oshawa: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Montréal: 4 providers, low 50, high 55; Québec: 4 providers, low 50, high 55; Fredericton: 3 providers, low 50, high 69; Charlottetown: 4 providers, low 50, high 68; Halifax: 4 providers, low 50, high 69; St. John’s: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; Whitehorse: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; Yellowknife: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; Iqaluit: 2 providers, low 65, high 68.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.18 Price of a Level 4 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.18: Price of a Level 4 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in a number of select cities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 4 basket of wireless service by major centre, as well as number of providers in each centre. Vancouver: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Victoria: 3 providers, low 60, high 65; Calgary: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Edmonton: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Saskatoon: 4 providers, low 48, high 76; Regina: 4 providers, low 48, high 76; Winnipeg: 4 providers, low 48, high 74; Toronto: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Ottawa-Gatineau: 5 providers, low 35, high 65; Hamilton: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; London: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Kitchener-Waterloo: 4 providers, low 35 high 65; St Catharines – Niagara: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Windsor: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Oshawa: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Montréal: 4 providers, low 50, high 65; Québec: 4 providers, low 50, high 65; Fredericton: 3 providers, low 60, high 66; Charlottetown: 4 providers, low 60, high 66; Halifax: 4 providers, low 60, high 65; St. John’s: 3 providers, low 60, high 65; Whitehorse: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; Yellowknife: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; Iqaluit: 2 providers, low 65, high 75.

Source: CRTC data collection

Price comparison of urban and rural wireless services

To assess the price of wireless services in rural Canada, 54 rural communities were selected, and the price of wireless services in these communities was compared to that in urban centres.

The price of wireless services in rural communities, across all service baskets, was generally equal to or higher than that in urban centres. For level 1 and 2 service baskets were very consistent between urban and rural communities. Differences were more pronounced for level 3 and 4 baskets especially in Onatrio and Alberta where the minimum price varied by 25$ between rural and urban communities.

The variance between the lowest and highest price of wireless services across all service baskets in rural communities, by province and territory, was wide, ranging between $3 and $33. This variance was also wide in the urban centres.

The average price variances among rural communities for Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 service baskets were $6, $14, $17, and $11, respectively. In the urban centres for the identical service baskets, the price variances were $6, $15, $19, $16, respectively.

Which rural communities were included?

54 rural communities were selected to assess the price of wireless services (see Appendix 9). These communities met the following criteria:

  • They were not part of one of the census metropolitan areas of the 24 urban centres;
  • They had population densities of fewer than 400 people per square kilometre, or their population centres had fewer than 1,000 people;
  • The number of communities in each province/territory was proportional to the population of the province/territory; and
  • The communities were not clustered together.

Figures 5.5.19 to 5.5.22 display the range in the monthly price of wireless services in urban centres and rural communities in Canada, by province and territory. The number at the end of each bar is the highest price. The number appearing in parentheses along the vertical axis after the name of each province and territory represents the number of local WSPs.

Figure 5.5.19 Price of a Level 1 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.19: Price of a Level 1 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 1 basket of wireless service by urban and rural areas on a per province basis. B.C. rural: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; B.C. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Alta. rural: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Alta. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Sask. rural: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Sask. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; Man. rural: 4 providers, low 25, high 35; Man. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 35; Ont. rural: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Ont. urban: 5 providers, low 21, high 30; Que. rural: 4 providers, low 21, high 30; Que. urban: 4 providers, low 21, high 30; N.B. rural: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; N.B. urban: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; P.E.I rural: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; P.E.I urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; N.S. rural, 3 providers, low 25, high 30; N.S. urban: 4 providers, low 25, high 30; N.L. rural: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; N.L. urban: 3 providers, low 25, high 30; Y.T. rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; Y.T. urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; N.W.T rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; N.W.T urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; Nvt. rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 35; Nvt. urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 35.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.20 Price of a Level 2 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.20: Price of a Level 2 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 2 basket of wireless service by urban and rural areas on a per province basis. B.C. rural: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; B.C. urban: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Alta. rural: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; Alta. urban: 4 providers, low 29, high 40; Sask. rural: 4 providers, low 30, high 41; Sask. urban: 4 providers, low 30, high 41; Man. rural: 4 providers, low 29, high 46; Man. urban: 4 providers, low 29, high 46; Ont. rural: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; Ont. urban: 5 providers, low 29, high 42; Que. rural: 4 providers, low 29, high 42; Que. urban: 4 providers, low 29, high 42; N.B. rural: 3 providers, low 30, high 40; N.B. urban: 3 providers, low 30, high 40; P.E.I rural: 4 providers, low 30, high 45; P.E.I urban: 4 providers, low 30, high 45; N.S. rural, 3 providers, low 29, high 40; N.S. urban: 4 providers, low 29, high 45; N.L. rural: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; N.L. urban: 3 providers, low 29, high 40; Y.T. rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; Y.T. urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; N.W.T rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; N.W.T urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; Nvt. rural: 2 providers, low 29, high 50; Nvt. urban: 2 providers, low 29, high 50.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.21 Price of a Level 3 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.21: Price of a Level 3 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 3 basket of wireless service by urban and rural areas on a per province basis. B.C. rural: 3 providers, low 45, high 68; B.C. urban: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Alta. rural: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; Alta. urban: 4 providers, low 38, high 68; Sask. rural: 4 providers, low 45, high 76; Sask. urban: 4 providers, low 45, high 76; Man. rural: 4 providers, low 48, high 81; Man. urban: 4 providers, low 48, high 81; Ont. rural: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; Ont. urban: 5 providers, low 38, high 68; Que. rural: 4 providers, low 40, high 55; Que. urban: 4 providers, low 40, high 55; N.B. rural: 3 providers, low 50, high 69; N.B. urban: 3 providers, low 50, high 69; P.E.I rural: 4 providers, low 50, high 69; P.E.I urban: 4 providers, low 50, high 69; N.S. rural, 3 providers, low 50, high 68; N.S. urban: 4 providers, low 50, high 68; N.L. rural: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; N.L. urban: 3 providers, low 50, high 68; Y.T. rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; Y.T. urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; N.W.T rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; N.W.T urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; Nvt. rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 68; Nvt. urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 68.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.5.22 Price of a Level 4 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.22: Price of a Level 4 basket wireless service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows the highest and lowest monthly prices in dollars for a level 4 basket of wireless service by urban and rural areas on a per province basis. B.C. rural: 3 providers, low 55, high 65; B.C. urban: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Alta. Rural: 3 providers, low 60, high 65; Alta. urban: 4 providers, low 35, high 65; Sask. rural: 4 providers, low 48, high 76; Sask. urban: 4 providers, low 48, high 76; Man. rural: 4 providers, low 48, high 74; Man. urban: 4 providers, low 48, high 74; Ont. rural: 3 providers, low 60, high 65; Ont. urban: 5 providers, low 35, high 65; Que. rural: 4 providers, low 50, high 65; Que. urban: 4 providers, low 50, high 65; N.B. rural: 3 providers, low 60, high 66; N.B. urban: 3 providers, low 60, high 66; P.E.I rural: 4 providers, low 60, high 66; P.E.I urban: 4 providers, low 60, high 65; N.S. rural, 3 providers, low 60, high 65; N.S. urban: 4 providers, low 60, high 65; N.L. rural: 3 providers, low 60, high 66; N.L. urban: 3 providers, low 60, high 66; Y.T. rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; Y.T. urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; N.W.T rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; N.W.T urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; Nvt. rural: 2 providers, low 65, high 75; Nvt urban: 2 providers, low 65, high 75.

Source: CRTC data collection

vii) Coverage/availability details

Figure 5.5.23 Wireless coverage, penetration, and ARPU by province and territory, 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.23: Wireless coverage, penetration, and ARPU by province and territory, 2015
Text Description of Image

This combination of a bar chart and plotted dot plot shows wireless coverage, penetration, HSPA+ coverage and LTE coverage by province and monthly ARPU in dollars by province for 2015: Wireless coverage: BC: 98.7%, AB: 99.8%, SK: 99.3%, MB: 98.0%, ON: 99.8%, QC: 99.2%, NB: 99.6%, NS: 99.7%, PEI: 100.0%:, NL: 95.2%, North: 87.5%, Canada: 99.3%; Penetration: BC: 88.3%, AB: 92.1%, SK: 82.0%, MB: 77.6%, ON: 78.3%, QC: 70.2%, NB: 74.1%, NS: 76.1%, PEI: 73.2%:, NL: 81.1%, North: 56.2%, Canada: 78.9%; HSPA+ coverage: BC: 98.7%, AB: 99.8%, SK: 99.3%, MB: 98.0%, ON: 99.8%, QC: 99.2%, NB: 99.6%, NS: 99.7%, PEI: 100.0%:, NL: 95.2%, North: 72.7%, Canada: 99.3%; LTE: BC: 97.7%, AB: 99.6%, SK: 77.7%, MB: 92.5%, ON: 99.3%, QC: 97.2%, NB: 98.3%, NS: 99.0%, PEI: 100.0%:, NL: 88.9%, North: 61.8%, Canada: 97.4%; ARPU: BC: $67.37, AB: $76.48, SK: $64.45, MB: $63.21, ON: $61.56, QC: $56.92, NB: $58.95, NS: $63.02, PEI: $57.73, NL: $68.90, North: $92.37, Canada: $63.78.

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows wireless coverage and penetration rates for various wireless technologies such as LTE and HSPA+, by percentage of population for each province and the territories. The table also shows the average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) in each region.

Figure 5.5.24 Roaming voice and data traffic by destination, 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.5.24: Roaming voice and data traffic by destination, 2015
Text Description of Image

This dual bar chart shows the percentage of voice minutes and data traffic, excluding MMS and SMS, derived from roaming within Canada, the United States, and internationally. Canada: 61%, 48%; the United States: 33%, 34%; International: 6%, 18%.

Source: CRTC data collection

WSPs extend their coverage area to areas where they do not have facilities by making arrangements with other WSPs that do have facilities in those areas to offer service to their end-users. When a subscriber uses the facilities of another WSP, the subscriber is said to be “roaming.” This dual chart shows the percentage of voice minutes and data traffic, excluding MMS and SMS, derived from roaming-in and roaming-out within Canada, the United States, and internationally.

Table 5.5.15 Wireless coverage, penetration, and average revenue per subscriber, by province and territory, 2015
Province/territory Coverage (%) Penetration rate (%) ARPU ($/month)
Wireless HSPA+ LTE
British Columbia 98.7 98.7 97.7 85.3 67.32
Alberta 99.8 99.8 99.6 92.1 76.48
Saskatchewan 99.3 99.3 77.7 82.0 64.45
Manitoba 99.2 98.0 92.5 77.6 63.21
Ontario 99.8 99.8 99.3 78.3 61.56
Quebec 99.2 99.2 97.2 70.2 56.92
New Brunswick 99.6 99.6 98.3 74.1 58.95
Nova Scotia 99.7 99.7 99.0 76.1 63.02
Prince Edward Island 99.9 99.9 99.9 73.2 57.73
Newfoundland and Labrador 95.2 95.2 88.9 81.1 68.90
The North 87.5 76.9 61.8 56.2 92.37
Canada 99.3 99.3 97.4 81.6 63.78

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows wireless coverage and penetration rates for various wireless technologies, such as LTE and HSPA+, by percentage of population for each province and the territories. The table also shows the average monthly revenue per user in each region. Provincial penetration rates and ARPU excludes data from WIND and Bragg, however, Canada’s penetration rate includes the data from WIND and Bragg.

Table 5.5.16 Percentage of population covered by number of different wireless networks, by province and territory, (%), 2015
Province/territory None 1 network only 2 networks only 3 networks only 4 or more networks
British Columbia 1 2 33 11 53
Alberta 0 0 35 9 56
Saskatchewan 1 25 71 3 0
Manitoba 2 2 21 75 0
Ontario 0 0 25 33 42
Quebec 1 4 5 18 73
New Brunswick 0 4 92 4 0
Nova Scotia 0 4 14 82 0
Prince Edward Island 0 1 17 82 0
Newfoundland and Labrador 4 49 47 0 0
The North 25 15 60 0 0
Canada 1 3 25 25 46

Source: CRTC data collection

This table represents the number of different wireless networks, in terms of radio access facilities, in each of the provinces and territories. In many provinces, facilities-based wireless service providers who own spectrum share the same radio access facilities to offer telecommunications services to the public. Some adjustments were made to more accurately reflect the coverage in The North.

Figure 5.5.25 Established carriers’ coverage and penetration vs. new entrants’ coverage and penetration, (% of population), 2015

Horizontal bar chart of Figure 5.5.25: Established carriers’ coverage and penetration vs. new entrants’ coverage and penetration, (% of population) 2015
Text Description of Image

This horizontal bar chart shows established carriers’ coverage and penetration versus new entrants’ coverage and penetration by percent of population for the years between 2011 and 2015: Established carriers’ coverage: 99.0%, 99.4%, 99.4%, 99.4%, 99.4%; Established carriers’ penetration: 75.1%, 75.6%, 76.9%, 76.2%, 77.8%; New carriers’ coverage: 54.9%, 57.6%, 64.5%, 64.3%, 70.3%; New carriers’ penetration: 3.0%, 4.2%, 3.8%, 4.5%, 4.9%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Canada’s wireless service market is dominated by established carriers. These companies offer significantly more coverage and achieve higher subscriber penetration rates than the new entrants.

Figure 5.5.26 Number of WiFi hotspot locations and mobile broadband penetration, 2015

Combination bar and line chart of Figure 5.5.26: Number of WiFi hotspot locations and mobile broadband penetration, 2015
Text Description of Image

This combination bar and line chart shows the number of free WiFi hotspots per 100,000 population and the percentage penetration of advanced handheld devices by population for select provinces for 2015. For hotspots per 100,000 population: For B.C.: 122, 156; For AB: 78, 122; for MB and SK combined: 25, 77; for ON: 24, 35; and for QC: 15, 15. For percentage penetration of mobile broadband: For BC: 64%; for AB 73%; for MB and SK combined: 66%; for ON: 64%; and for QC: 50%.

Source: CRTC data collection

WiFi hotspots are an important way in which TSPs attempt to differentiate their services from each other, as well as a way to extend their brand. Major providers in western Canada have moved towards providing free hotspots, as shown in the above chart.

Only hotspots provided by the major TSPs are included, which may exclude independently run free hotspots provided by hotels, restaurants, and other public facilities.

Data for the Atlantic provinces and the North is not reported due to the confidentiality of the data.

Figure 5.5.27 Number of free and pay-for-use WiFi hotspot locations in Canada, 2015

Circular chart of Figure 5.5.27: Number of free and pay-for-use WiFi hotspot locations in Canada, 2015
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the number of free and pay-for-use WiFi hotspot locations in Canada. Free: 21,017; For-pay: 941.

Source: CRTC data collection

The above chart shows the number of free and pay-for-use WiFi hotspots provided by major TSPs in Canada. Hotspots are locations where Internet access via 802.11 WiFi technology is provided to the public. Free is defined as having no charge for at least 1/2 hour of access, even if access requires being a paid customer to the location.

This does not include hotspots that only provide access to a provider’s existing customers.

Map 5.5.1 Wireless service availability by number of facilities-based WSPs, 2015

Map 5.5.1: Wireless service availability by number of facilities-based WSPs, 2015
Text Description of Image

This map displays the presence and the number of wireless facilities-based service providers in Canada.

Source: CRTC data collection

This map shows the cross-country availability of wireless services from facilities-based WSPs.

Map 5.5.2 Wireless HSPA+ service availability by incumbent and new-entrant facilities-based WSPs, 2015

Map 5.5.2: Wireless HSPA+ service availability by incumbent and new-entrant facilities-based WSPs, 2015
Text Description of Image

This map displays the presence and the number of HSPA+ wireless facilities-based service providers in Canada for 2010 and 2015.

Source: CRTC data collection

This map shows the cross-country availability of HSPA+ network by incumbent and new-entrant facilities-based WSPs, as well as, the expansion of the incumbents’ HSPA+ network from 2010 to 2015.

Map 5.5.3 Wireless LTE service availability between 2013 and 2015

Map 5.5.3: Wireless LTE service availability between 2013 and 2015
Text Description of Image

This map displays the expansion of wireless LTE network coverage in Canada for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Source: CRTC data collection

This map shows the expansion of LTE coverage in Canada over the past three years.

5.6 Wholesale telecommunications sector

Infographic summarizing section 5.6 – Wholesale telecommunications sector
Infographic summarizing section 5.6 – Wholesale telecommunications sector
Text Description of Image

This infographic presents several key indicators for the wholesale sector and is divided into 5 sections. First indicator: circular chart shows the percentage of wholesale revenues as a proportion of all telecommunications revenues. In 2015, these revenues were 8% of all telecommunications revenues. Total telecommunications revenues were 47.8 billion in 2015. Second indicator: revenues: $3.9 billion, an increase of 3.8% over 2014. Third indicator: percentage of revenues not price regulated: 74%. Fourth indicator: wireless revenues: $1.1 billion, an increase of 8.1% over 2014. Fifth indicator: wireline revenues: $2.8 billion, an increase of 2.1% over 2014.

Wholesale services are services provided by a TSP (telecommunications service provider) to another provider of telecommunication services for use in the provision of telecommunications services. All providers of telecommunications services rely on wholesale services to varying degrees. Resellers of telecommunications services depend more on wholesale services than companies that have their own facilities to provide service. In 2015, for the purposes of providing wireline services, resellers spent 46 cents out of every revenue dollar for wholesale services compared to less than 7 cents for service providers that have facilities.

The availability of wholesale services is a major factor that ultimately provides greater choice to Canadians in the telecommunications market. In 2015, the telecommunications wholesale market was $3.9 billion of which 29% was for the provision of wireless services and 71% for wireline services.

Independent ISPs are frequently dependent on access services of the Incumbent TSPs and the cable-based carriers in order to connect to their customers. Over the years, sales of cable-based access services, known as TPIA (Third Party Internet Access), to independent ISPs have increased.

Wholesale from wireless services is an increasingly important part of the telecommunications landscape. Joint network building by several large carriers allow them to minimize overall costs and reduce the need for duplicate networks. Since 2011, network sharing and roaming revenues have increased at an average annual rate of 12.2%.

i) Revenues

Table 5.6.1 Wholesale telecommunications revenues ($ billions)
Sector 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireline 3.0 2.9 2.8 2.7 2.8 2.1 -1.8
Wireless 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.1 8.1 11.8
Total 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.8 1.3

Source: CRTC data collection

The table shows that wireline wholesale revenues have been declining since 2011, while wireless wholesale revenues have been increasing. The wireless wholesale market excludes fixed-wireless services.

Table 5.6.2 Wholesale telecommunications revenues, by market sector ($ millions)
Sector Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Wireline Voice Local and access 832 751 704 646 603 -6.6 -7.7
Long distance 617 552 433 414 423 2.3 -9.0
Voice subtotal 1,449 1,303 1,137 1,059 1,026 -3.1 -8.3
Non-voice Internet 411 429 444 500 582 16.5 9.1
Newer data protocols 307 352 390 435 469 8.0 11.2
Legacy data protocols 41 35 30 24 20 -15.9 -16.3
Other data services 65 88 94 99 89 -9.8 8.1
Data subtotal 413 475 515 557 578 3.8 8.8
Private line 737 695 657 628 615 -2.0 -4.4
Non-voice subtotal 1,561 1,599 1,615 1,685 1,776 5.4 3.3
Total Total voice and non-voice 3,010 2,901 2,753 2,744 2,802 2.1 -1.8
Wireless All All 718 840 953 1,038 1,123 8.1 11.8
All Total All 3,728 3,742 3,706 3,783 3,925 3.8 1.3

Source: CRTC data collection

Voice wholesale revenues have declined 8.3% annually since 2011, whereas wireline non-voice revenues have increased 3.3%. The strongest revenue growth was in newer services such as Internet and mobile wireless services, and data services using newer data protocols such as Ethernet and IP. These services have increased between 9.1% and 11.8% annually since 2011.

Figure 5.6.1 Wholesale telecommunications revenues, by market sector

Bar chart of Figure 5.6.1: Wholesale telecommunications revenues, by market sector
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the revenues from 2011 to 2015 for the various sectors of the wholesale market. Local and access: 832, 751, 704, 646, 603; Long distance: 617, 552, 433, 414, 423; Internet: 411, 429, 444, 500, 582; Newer data protocols: 307, 352, 390, 435, 469; Legacy data protocols: 41, 35, 30, 24, 20; Private Line: 737, 695, 657, 628, 615; Wireless: 718, 840, 953, 1,038, 1,123; Other data services: 65, 88, 94, 99, 89.

Source: CRTC data collection

Figure 5.6.2 Percentage distribution of wholesale telecommunications revenues, by market sector (2011 vs. 2015)

Circular charts of Figure 5.6.2: Percentage distribution of wholesale telecommunications revenues, by market sector (2011 vs. 2015)
Text Description of Image

These two circular charts show the distribution of wholesale telecommunications revenue by market sector in 2011 and 2015. In 2011 (on the left hand side): Wireless 19%, local and access 22%, long distance 17%, private line 20%, Internet 11%, new data protocols 8%, other data 3%. In 2015 (on the right hand side): Wireless 29%, local and access 15%, long distance 11%, private line 16%, Internet 15%, new data protocols 12%, other data 3%.

Source: CRTC data collection

These charts compare the percentage distribution of wholesale service revenues between 2011 and 2015. During this period, revenues from mobile wireless wholesale services have increased as a percentage of total wholesale revenues, from 19% in 2011 to 29% 2015. They make up the largest percentage of wholesale revenues, followed by local and access and private line.

Table 5.6.3 Local wholesale telecommunications revenues, by major component ($ millions)
Component 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011– 2015
Interconnection 254 220 212 198 192 -2.9 -6.7
Centrex 88 76 64 57 50 -12.5 -13.2
PSTN access 354 327 304 283 263 -7.1 -7.2
Unbundled loops 60 47 44 40 37 -7.6 -11.4
Other revenues 42 44 42 52 42 -19.8 -0.2
Total 798 714 665 629 584 -7.2 -7.5

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays local and access wholesale revenues by major component. Providers of telecommunications services use these components to provide retail telecommunications service. For example, unbundled loops can be used by an alternative service provider to provide local telephone service to its retail customers. In addition, interconnection allows the customers of one service provider to contact the customers of another service provider.

Table 5.6.4 Local wholesale telecommunications revenues, by province ($ millions)
Province 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011– 2015
British Columbia 77 60 44 59 53 -10.2 -8.9
Alberta 87 58 58 45 62 37.8 -8.1
Saskatchewan 9 8 9 8 8 0.0 -2.9
Manitoba 32 31 28 19 15 -21.1 -17.3
Ontario 357 341 302 274 247 -9.9 -8.8
Quebec 194 174 176 174 159 -8.6 -4.9
New Brunswick 17 17 17 16 20 25.0 4.1
Nova Scotia 22 22 24 29 25 -13.8 3.2
Prince Edward Island 2 2 3 3 1 -66.7 -15.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 9 9 10 10 10 0.0 2.7
Yukon 1 1 1 1 1 0.0 0.0
Northwest Territories 1 1 1 1 1 0.0 0.0
Nunavut 0 0 0 0 0 - -
Total 809 725 674 638 602 -5.6 -7.1

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows local wholesale revenues by province by companies with annual revenues greater than $100 million. Revenues include wholesale revenues from the sale and rental of terminal equipment.

Figure 5.6.3 Wholesale HSA based subscriptions across Canada, 2015

Circular chart of Figure 5.6.3: Wholesale HSA based subscriptions across Canada, 2015
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the percentage of wholesale HSA based subscriptions across Canada for 2015. Ontario: 71%; Quebec: 23%; Rest of Canada: 6%.

The Commission has mandated that DSL and cable facilities be made available to third-party providers utilizing the wholesale HSA framework. The usage of these services varies greatly depending on the region, with independent ISP wholesale facilities based competition being much more successful in Ontario and Quebec.

Table 5.6.5 Internet-related wholesale revenues, by type of service ($ millions)
Type of service 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Higher capacity access and transport 53 45 52 73 77 5.2 9.8
Lower capacity access 266 303 336 369 447 21.2 13.9
Other wholesale services 92 81 56 58 58 0.9 -10.8
Wholesale total 411 429 444 500 582 16.5 9.1

Source: CRTC data collection

Internet-related Wholesale revenues consist of services that provide access for TSPs to the Internet, to allow TSPs to connect directly to their subscribers, or to provide Internet related equipment, applications or other miscellaneous services. In the above table, they are divided into three categories.

Table 5.6.6 Wholesale HSA revenues, by service component ($ millions)
Service component 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2013-2015
Access 200 213 250 17.1 11.0
Capacity 54 107 158 48.1 74.4
Interface and other 33 27 29 8.7 -3.1
Total wholesale HSA services 287 347 437 26.0 21.4

Source: CRTC data collection

The Commission has mandated that DSL and cable facilities be made available to third-party providers utilizing the wholesale HSA framework. Wholesale HSA has the following components:

Table 5.6.7 DSL and cable wholesale high-speed access, by type of service (thousands)
Type of service 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Cable-enabled subscriptions 76 187 305 393 454 15.6 56.3
DSL-enabled subscriptions 468 458 462 480 561 16.8 4.6
Total DSL and cable 544 645 767 873 1,015 16.3 16.9

Source: CRTC data collection

The vast majority of the above subscriptions are covered under the wholesale HSA framework, as described above. Over time, TSPs have been making increased use of wholesale DSL and cable facilities to connect to their end-users.

Figure 5.6.4 Wholesale HSA enabled subscriptions, by service speed in Mbps (thousands)

Stacked bar chart of Figure 5.6.4: Wholesale HSA enabled subscriptions, by service speed in Mbps (thousands)
Text Description of Image

This stacked bar chart shows the number of wholesale HSA enabled subscriptions in thousands, by service speed in Mbps from 2012 to 2015. In 2012: 0 to 4 Mbps: 49; 5 to 9 Mbps 427; 10 to 15 Mbps: 110; 16 to 49 Mbps: 63; 50 and up: 0; Total for all: 650. In 2013: 0 to 4 Mbps: 29; 5 to 9 Mbps: 435; 10 to 15 Mbps: 99; 16 to 49 Mbps: 212; 50 and up: 4; Total for all: 778. In 2014: 0 to 4 Mbps: 17; 5 to 9 Mbps: 373; 10 to 15 Mbps: 180; 16 to 49 Mbps: 281; 50 and up: 18; Total for all: 869. In 2015: 0 to 4 Mbps: 35; 5 to 9 Mbps: 359; 10 to 15 Mbps: 302; 16 to 49 Mbps: 295; 50 and up: 58; Total for all: 1,049.

Source: CRTC data collection

Wholesale HSA services are available at various speeds for end-user access. Over time, TSPs have availed themselves of higher-speed services to enable connectivity to their end-users. The above subscriptions are for residential and business end-user locations. Totals may not exactly match previous tables due to the use of different data sources.

Table 5.6.8 Data protocol wholesale revenues, by service category ($ millions)
Category Subcategory 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Newer protocols Ethernet 221 225 259 288 299 3.6 7.8
IP 69 99 102 118 142 20.8 19.9
Other 17 28 29 29 28 -1.0 13.8
Total newer protocols 307 352 390 435 469 8.0 11.2
Legacy protocols Total 41 35 30 24 20 -15.9 -16.3
Total Total data protocols 348 386 421 458 489 6.7 8.9

Source: CRTC data collection

The data services were classified as services making use of newer data protocols such as Ethernet and IP, or legacy protocols such as X.25, ATM, and frame relay. This table displays the revenues from wholesale data services by the protocol used in the service from 2011 to 2015.

Table 5.6.9 Wireless mobile wholesale revenues, by type of service ($ millions)
Type of service 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011-2015
Interconnection and roaming 607 736 811 892 963 7.9 12.2
Other 111 105 142 146 160 9.5 9.5
Wholesale total 718 840 953 1,038 1,123 8.1 11.8

Source: CRTC data collection

Interconnection and roaming services are sold to other wireless service providers allowing the service provider to exchange their traffic and extend their geographic coverage area. ‘Other’ services mainly consist of, but are not limited to, arrangements for a wireless provider to provide wireless services for another company’s customers, also known as resale or MVNO arrangements.

ii) Subscriber data

Table 5.6.10 Local and access lines, by type of TSP (thousands)
Type of TSP 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%)
2011–2015
Incumbent TSPs 847 742 683 658 598 -9.1 -8.3
Alternative TSPs 135 267 149 68 55 -19.1 -20.1
Cable-based carriers 16 33 5 4 5 25.0 -25.2
Total 999 1,042 837 730 657 -10.0 -9.9

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays the number of local and access wholesale lines by type of service provider, as well as growth rates and the percentage of wholesale lines by type of service provider for the years 2011 to 2015. Over this period, incumbent TSPs’ share of wholesale lines increased from 85% in 2011 to 91% in 2015.

iii) Competitive landscape

Table 5.6.11 Wireline wholesale telecommunications revenue market share, by type of TSP (%)
Type of TSP Subtype 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Incumbent TSPs Incumbent TSPs 86 85 84 82 80
Alternative service providers Facilities-based alternative service providers (includes cable-based carriers) 12 12 13 14 17
Resellers 3 3 4 4 4
Subtotal 14 15 16 18 20

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays wireline wholesale revenues market share by type of TSPs for the years 2011 to 2015. Over this period, Incumbent TSPs have maintained the largest share of the market although their share has since decreased slightly. With an 80% share of wholesale revenues, they have the largest share of the wholesale market.

Table 5.6.12 Local and access revenues, by type of TSP ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011–2015
Incumbent TSPs 794 708 657 625 580 -7.2 -7.6
Alternative TSPs 22 34 36 12 16 29.8 -8.3
Cable-based carriers 17 10 11 9 8 -15.5 -18.2
Total wholesale 832 751 704 646 603 -6.6 -7.7

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays revenues from local and access wholesale services by type of service provider, as well as growth rates and the percentage of wholesale revenues by type of service provider for the years 2011 to 2015. Over this period, incumbent TSPs maintained approximately 95% of these revenues.

Table 5.6.13 Long distance revenues, by type of TSP ($ millions)
Type 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth (%) 2014-2015 CAGR (%) 2011–2015
Incumbent TSPs 520 461 360 322 343 6.5 -9.9
Alternative TSPs 55 72 59 81 71 -12.4 6.6
Cable-based carriers 42 18 13 11 9 -15.7 -31.5
Total wholesale 617 552 433 414 423 2.2 -9.0

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays revenues from long distance wholesale services by type of service provider, as well as revenue growth rates and the percentage of wholesale revenues by type of service provider for the years 2011 to 2015. Over this period, incumbent TSPs had a near 10% annual decline in these revenues, whereas alternative service providers had an over 6% annual increase. Wholesale long distance service includes the resale of long distance minutes that one service provider has acquired from another services provider. Providers of prepaid long distance calling cards rely on these services.

iv) Forbearance

Figure 5.6.5 Telecommunications wholesale service revenues, by type of tariff, 2015 (%)

Circular chart of Figure 5.6.5: Telecommunications wholesale service revenues, by type of tariff, 2015 (%)
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the percent of telecommunications wholesale services revenues that are tariff, off-tariff and non-tariff for 2015. Tariff: 26%; Off-tariff: 2%; Non-tariff: 72%.

Source: CRTC data collection

Approximately 74% of wholesale revenues were from non-tariff services and those services where the parties have agreed to an alternate price.

Tariff services are services whose rates, terms, and conditions are set out in a Commission-approved tariff.

Non-tariff services are those telecommunications services whose rates, terms, and conditions are not set out in a Commission-approved tariff.

Off-tariff services are those whose prices are filed with the Commission but for which the parties have agreed to an alternate price.

Tariff services revenues now exclude revenues from off-tariff services.

Figure 5.6.6 Telecommunications wholesale service revenues, by type of service, 2015 (%)

Circular chart of Figure 5.6.6: Telecommunications wholesale service revenues, by type of service, 2015 (%)
Text Description of Image

This circular chart shows the wholesale telecommunications revenue market share by type of service in 2015. Local and access: 16%; High-speed access (WHSA) services: 11%; Private line and Ethernet services: 24%; Support structures: 2% and other: 47%.

Source: CRTC data collection

This chart displays the percentage of revenues from wholesale services by type of wholesale service. For purposes of this chart, support structure revenue was included in wholesale revenues.

Table 5.6.14 Percentage of telecommunications wholesale revenues generated by forborne services (%)
Type of service 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Local and access 60 61 61 59 58
Long distance 96 99 99 97 98
Internet 59 56 41 35 33
Data 86 86 87 86 86
Private line 54 53 53 54 64
Wireless 100 100 100 100 100

Source: CRTC data collection

This table displays the percentage of wholesale telecommunications revenues from services that are not provisioned in accordance with a Commission-approved tariff.

v) Inter-provider expenses

Wholesale service revenues are the inter-provider expenses of providers of telecommunications services acquiring these services. All companies purchase telecommunications services from another carrier. The extent to which service providers rely on these services depends on the nature of their operations.

Figure 5.6.7 Inter-provider expenses per revenue dollar for wireline services, 2014 and 2015

Bar chart of Figure 5.6.7: Inter-provider expenses per revenue dollar for wireline services, 2014 and 2015
Text Description of Image

This bar chart shows the inter-provider expenses in cents per revenue dollar for various market participants for 2014 and 2015. 2014: SILECs: 8.7, ILECs 5.1, Cable 5.1, Other facilities-based 28.3, Resellers: 48.1. 2015: SILECs: 9.5, ILECs 6.6, Cable 5.0, Other facilities-based 31.0, Resellers: 45.5.

Source: CRTC data collection

This table shows the extent to which various providers of telecommunications services rely on wholesale services. In total, facilities-based providers of telecommunications service spend less than 7 cents of every revenue dollar on wholesale telecommunications services, whereas resellers – service providers that do not own or operate transmission facilities – are very dependent. They spend 46 cents of every dollar on these services.

Inter-provider expense per revenue dollar compares the expenses incurred by a TSP in acquiring wholesale services to its telecommunications revenues for wireline services.

It is derived by dividing total annual inter- provider expenses by annual telecommunications revenues. This calculation includes all revenues from telecommunications services, including revenues from telecommunications services requiring limited dependency on wholesale services.

Providers who omitted inter-provider expenses were eliminated from consideration.

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