Lights on an internet switch are lit up as with users in an office in Ottawa, on February 10, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Lights on an internet switch are lit up as with users in an office in Ottawa, on February 10, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Analysts say new CRTC limits on Big 3 help regional carriers with growth plans

One of Canada’s most outspoken consumer advocacy groups, OpenMedia, criticized the CRTC on Thursday

Canada’s regional wireless and internet carriers will benefit the most from this week’s landmark regulatory ruling by the CRTC, telecommunications analysts and consumer advocates say.

Financial analysts at RBC Capital Markets and Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets say Quebecor’s Videotron and Cogeco Communications will likely have more room to grow, given the CRTC’s new restrictions on BCE’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp.

But the analysts also say the three big national wireless carriers will likely be able to manage the new CRTC rules.

“We view this decision as ‘constructive-enough’ and manageable for national operators while at the same time ‘extending a helping hand’ to existing regional wireless operators,” RBC analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in an report for clients.

However, one of Canada’s most outspoken consumer advocacy groups, OpenMedia, criticized the CRTC on Thursday for putting too much emphasis on the regional carriers, doing too little to limit the market power of the Big Three and doing very little to help new entrants to the wireless markets.

OpenMedia executive director Laura Tribe said the CRTC had missed a chance to stimulate competition from smaller players.

“It really doubles down on the idea that a regional provider will be sufficient to correct the extreme market share that Bell, Telus and Rogers have,” Tribe said in an interview.

Tribe has told numerous government and regulatory hearings that Canada’s three biggest telecommunications companies — which collectively have more than 90 per cent of the country’s subscriber base — are too big and consumers have too few choices

The financial analysts took a more favourable view of the CRTC decision, noting that Videotron will have more options to strengthen its base in Quebec or buy assets in other provinces and Cogeco may be able to advance its strategic goal of adding wireless to its internet and cable TV networks.

“The CRTC’s decision essentially means that ‘eligible’ regional wireless carriers would be able to use incumbent networks to offer services until they build out their networks,” wrote Aravinda Galappatthige in a report from Canaccord Genuity.

Galappatthige said the decision is very favourable to regional wireless carriers.

“It does open the door for QBR (Quebecor) to extend beyond Quebec with wireless services whether they choose to do so in a limited fashion (i.e. parts of Ontario) or pick up the mantle as the fourth quasi-national player,” Galappatthige wrote.

Canada’s current “fourth quasi-national player” is the former Wind Mobile, which has about two million subscribers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. About half of them were added after the formerly independent company was bought in 2016 by Shaw Communications Inc. and renamed Freedom Mobile.

Most observers, including the CRTC, say the future for Shaw and Freedom is more difficult to predict because of a proposed takeover by Rogers, which has the largest base of subscribers and a network that spans most of the country. The Rogers-Shaw deal is subject to three federal approvals, including the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.

Quebecor chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau told a committee of MPs, who are studying the Rogers-Shaw deal, that Videotron had originally wanted to become a national wireless carrier, but it sold its licences outside Quebec after scaling back its ambitions due to the enormous expense of building a new network.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Bukwila by Art Thompson, set at the steps of Lansdowne campus’ Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, has been welcoming students to campus since 1997. (Photo courtesy of Camosun College)
World-renowned artist’s legacy lives on at Camosun College

Art Thompson made untold contributions toward Indigenous education, art and advocacy

Did you know, according to the CRD, every person produces an average of 185–200 litres of wastewater per day? Here’s where most of it gets treated, at the new wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. (CRD image)
View Royal signs on to wastewater funding plan

Capital Regional District requesting to borrow up to $34.3 million to upgrade infrastructure

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read