The East Coast
EastLink, privately owned by the Bragg family, is the dominant cable TV company in the Maritimes. It expanded into home phone early and stole a big chunk of the Atlantic market. Now it's planning to launch its own wireless network in 2011. EastLink's main rival, Bell Aliant, is fighting back, staking its future on super high-speed fibre-optic connections, which it is rolling out quickly in a bid to tempt customers with blazing fast Internet service and Internet-protocol television (IPTV).
Bell and Vidéotron are old rivals. Both are based in Montreal, and neither will cede market share easily. Bell is pushing its IPTV service in Montreal, while Vidéotron launches a new wireless network throughout the province this fall. The upcoming fight in Quebec, particularly key markets like Montreal and Quebec City, will offer a preview of what may occur in other regions.
Toronto is now the most competitive wireless market in Canada. Rogers and Bell have long slugged it out for market share in the city and surrounding region. Now they've been joined by new wireless competitors, including Wind Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity. In cable, Rogers remains king. Bell, however, is muscling into Toronto with its IPTV service and hopes to disrupt what it calls the last remaining monopoly of urban cable.
A showdown is brewing in both Cowtown and latte-town, as Calgary-based cable juggernaut Shaw Communications prepares to launch a wireless network next year to compete with Telus, the Vancouver-based telecom giant. Shaw has already eaten away at Telus's fixed-line phone and Internet customers. In response, Telus has been even more aggressive than Bell in rolling out its IPTV service.
THE QUEBEC MARKET
A comparison of Quebec market share between Vidéotron Ltée and Bell (including Bell Aliant)
Quebec TV market
Vidéotron 62 per cent; Bell 21 per cent
Residential broadband Internet
Vidéotron 53 per cent; Bell 37 per cent
Bell 60 per cent; Vidéotron 32 per cent
Bell 39 per cent; Rogers 34 per cent (Vidéotron accounts for about 1.6 per cent of Rogers's subscribers in Quebec City); Taelus 27 per cent.
Source: Convergence Consulting Group Ltd.