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

Dan McCauley put his carpentry skills to work to create this new bench in downtown Chemainus from blowdown wood. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Former carpenter spruces up bench with Douglas fir

Blowdown wood utilized to create a polished sitting space downtown

Municipality of North Cowichan.
Electrical contract awarded for RCMP building

Council meeting recap from May 5 includes Island Health delegation on wellness and recovery centre

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley looks at electric school bus acquisition as driving Cowichan forward. (Photo submitted)
New electric school bus for Cowichan district

Higher price offset by reduced repair and maintenance costs compared to diesel

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
MacGregor introduces bill to mark Canadian Armed Forces Members Day Oct. 22

Objective to honour those who’ve lost their lives in non-combat roles on Canadian soil

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop remains closed for the time being. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Healthcare Auxiliaries Day marks 76 years on Saturday, May 8

Chemainus Thrift Shop situation will be revisited Tuesday

(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’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read