Canada's wireless leaders form excessively lucrative oligopoly, reap world-high profits

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

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It's only been just recently that Canada has seen new wireless startups enter the market in a bid to stir the pot of healthy competition.

And our country be damned if we don't need it—the Big Three, Bell, Rogers, and Telus, control over 95 percent of the market. On top of that, the Canadian carriers lead the world with the highest average revenue per user. These companies are earning nearly $55 per month from consumers, well above the $43 average for developed nations, and substantially higher than even America's $49.

And it stems further yet. The Big Three's earnings, before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, punched in at almost 47 percent, topping the world's developed nations. The world average was a comparatively low 38 percent.

This might explain why Canada scored the lowest on penetration, which is the percentage of the population that subscribes to wireless services. At just 69 percent, Canada fell far below peer nations, which averaged well over 100 percent, meaning many consumers actually subscribe to multiple wireless accounts. Developing nations' average was just three percentage points below Canada's, which has the highest subscription rate to landline services—a sign Canadians are forced to stick with old technology because of price gouging.

Canadian carrier companies post low per-minute revenue, but other charges, including the notorious caller ID, voicemail and data "extras," contribute to the country's sky-high revenue per user.

Canada is also one of only three countries in the world where the industry standard is to charge for incoming calls (elsewhere, only outgoing calls are clocked for charged minutes).

The country's hope lies in new carriers, such as Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, and Moblicity, all of whom have promised cheaper, simpler plans. But the Big Three don't like it, and Rogers has lifted it's foot with the new chatr service, hoping to bring its boot down on the newcomers with its own simplified, basic wireless plans.

Company:
Telus Corp.
Website:
http://www.telus.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technology is a key enabler for TELUS and our customers, providing advantage and differentiation in the marketplace. By managing the life cycle of current technologies and the timely introduction of new technologies we deliver superior service value to our customers and long-term growth oriented investment performance to our shareholders. For investors, TELUS is succeeding in managing technology and capital... more

Company:
Bell Canada
Website:
http://www.bell.ca
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and VDSL television,... more

Company:
Rogers Communications
Website:
http://www.rogers.com
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We are a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are engaged in wireless voice and data communications services through Wireless, Canada's largest wireless provider and the operator of the country's only national Global System for Mobile Communications ("GSM") based network. Through Cable we are one of Canada's largest providers of cable television services as well as high-speed Internet access... more

Company:
Wind Mobile
Website:
http://www.windmobile.ca
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Simply put, we want to create the most unforgettably positive customer experience in Canada. How? By speaking with you, not at or over you. By making every site you visit, every store you set foot in and every call you have with us into a meaningful conversation to help build something better - together. We'll make it as easy as possible to be a customer. You'll have more control over your mobile experience than... more


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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more



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