In Canada, the telecommunication industry is essentially a monopoly that is controlled by a relatively small number of major companies. All telecom companies in Canada are private, largely as a result of the privatization of the telecom sector.
Due to the wireless technology development, recent surveys show that telecommunication companies provided a whopping $74.5 billion in direct GDP in 2019 (CWTA Investing in Canada’s Digital Infrastructure: The Economic Impact of Wireless/Wireline Broadband and the Post-COVID Recovery, 2020). Along with the mobile phone industry, online gambling is one of Canada’s most profitable businesses, which brings more than $15 billion every year (as reported by Online Casino Valley).
Nearly three-quarters of Canadians own smartphones, but there are just a few companies competing for the business of these 30 million people.
There are three leading telecom companies in Canada:
These companies control just about 91% of the country’s telecom business, with each company serving 10,8 (Rogers Communications), 9,96 (BCE Inc) and 8.1 (Telus) million subscribers. The next most prominent mobile companies in Canada – Shaw and Videotron – currently provide just over 2.5 million and over 1.53 million subscriptions, respectively.
Here is a more in-depth report on the top 5 telecom companies in Canada for 2020.
1. Rogers Communications
Rogers is Canada’s largest telecommunications company, serving more than 10,8 million subscribers.
Rogers Communications is the largest and, according to many, the best telecommunication company in Canada. The company, which has its headquarters situated in Toronto, has the highest number of subscribed customers.
Rogers Communications facts:
- Rogers is serving 10.84 million subscribers in 2019. (Statista)
- Rogers had revenues of just over 10.2 billion in the 2020 year. (Globe Newswire)
Ted Rogers began Baton Aldred Rogers Broadcasting in 1959, but it wasn’t until nearly two decades later that Rogers Communications was formed.
In 1978, Ted decided to move into the telecommunications network alongside David Margolese, Marc Belzberg, and Phillipe de Gaspè Beaubien.
Much of Rogers’ success is built upon Margolese’s prediction that wireless cell phone technology would be useful for many more things than simply making voice calls.
Rogers is the best network in Canada.
Margolese, who didn’t yet work with Rogers, intended to capitalize on his hunch. He encouraged the partnership with Rogers to secure funding and licensing over wireless communications in Canada. This joint venture led to the development of the country’s current telecom giant.
Rogers Communications now comprises the best network in Canada and deals with several different services. These include cable television, telephone, and internet connection. As a subsidiary, Rogers Wireless specifically deals with wireless telephone service and is considered the strongest of several mobile providers in Canada.
2. BCE Inc.
BCE Inc. was originally known as Bell Canada, named after the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.
Despite having one of the richest and longest histories of all the Canadian telecom companies, BCE Inc. remains the second-most popular among Canada’s telecom companies. BCE is second only to Rogers.
BCE Inc. facts:
- BCE Inc. had 9.8 million subscribers in 2020.
- They made a net revenue of $6.42 billion at the end of Q3 in the 2020 year. (Cision)
BCE Inc., formerly known as Bell Canada, was founded 139 years ago on April 29th, 1880.
This telecommunications service provider is named after Alexander Graham Bell, the man credited with inventing and patenting the very first telephone.
BCE Inc.’s original name was The Bell Telephone Company.
At the time of its inception, the Canadian organization’s original name was ‘The Bell Telephone Company.’ It was involved in the distribution, maintenance, and subscription of Canadian telephone services as early as the late 1870s.
The name BCE Inc. was adapted in 1983, when a number of companies, including Bell Canada, were all subsidized by Bell Canada Enterprises, Inc.
In addition to being one of the top telecom companies, BCE Inc. remains one of Canada’s largest overall corporations, generating more than $3 billion in revenue in 2016 alone.
3. Telus Corporation
Telus is the third-largest telecommunications company in Canada. Telus was originally based in Edmonton but has since relocated to the West Coast.
Telus Corporation facts:
- Telus generated $4.0 billion in revenue in Q3 in 2020, a 7.7 percent increase compared to the year before. (Globe Newswire)
- In 2019, Telus boasted 10.2 million subscribers – a significant increase since 2017, during which the company served 8.9 million people. (Statista)
- The company, headquartered in Vancouver, has over 65,600 employees across the country in 2019, a 13.1% increase compared to 2018. (Macrotrends)
Telus was first developed to catalyze the privatization of the Alberta Government Telephones Commission.
In 1999, the company was merged with BCTel, and while Telus kept their name, they moved their headquarters to Vancouver. The name was adjusted to the current-day Telus Corporation.
Telus primarily serves British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec and is one of the farthest-reaching telecom companies Canada has.
Service to Quebec was instigated after the merging of BCTel and Telus took place. Groupe QuèbecTel, a telecommunications company that had previously been owned by BCTel, sold its interests to Telus in 2000 after the merging. Telus’s stake in Quebec is now known as Telus Quèbec.
Public Mobile and Koodo Mobile are a part of the Telus network.
Telus currently owns two subsidiaries: Koodo Mobile and Public Mobile, each of which are considered among the best mobile providers in Canada in the regions where they are offered. Koodoo offers one of Canada’s best and most affordable network connections and allows mobile users to adjust their plans easily.
4. Shaw Communications
Shaw Communications is believed to provide the best network in the Western provinces and one of the best telecom companies in Canada. This telecommunications service provider offers telephone, Internet, cable and wireless TV, and mobile services.
Out of all the telecom companies in Canada, Shaw is certainly not the largest. However, it is still an important player in the industry.
Shaw Communications facts:
- Their consolidated revenue in Q3 in the 2020 year was $1.35 billion dollars. (Globe Newswire)
- Shaw was serving just over 3.2 million customers across the country. (Shaw)
The company focuses primarily on serving Western Canada, with the majority of subscribers living in BC and Alberta. Shaw also has smaller numbers of subscribers in the eastern prairies and northern Ontario.
Shaw is one of the oldest Canadian telecom companies.
The company was originally founded under the name Capital Cable Television Company, Ltd. The company, founded in Edmonton by JR Shaw, was initially a subsidiary of his father’s business known as Shawcor. Shaw was one of the first telecom companies in Canada.
Following the acquisition of a number of smaller businesses in the 80s and 90s, Shaw’s expansion has allowed it to gain a serious foothold as one of the Canada’s best telecom companies.
Videotron is the largest telecommunications company in Quebec, which is one of the largest provinces in Canada. Videotron, Quebecor owned, services mostly Quebec and some of the French-speaking areas in New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario.
- In 2017, Videotron was serving almost 2 million customers among their various services. (Videotron)
- Videotron averaged about $1.06 billion in the Q1 in 2020. (Cision)
Videotron has been in business since 1964 when Andrè Chagnon founded it. After its inception, Videotron was known as Tèlecable Vidèotron Ltèe and was Montreal’s first actual cable TV service. Back then, the company only had 66 subscribers. (http://corpo.videotron.com)
Videotron is people’s favourite in Quebec.
There may be other telecom companies in Canada that offer service to a greater land area. Still, Videotron provides some of the best network services to more people per square mile than many other mobile providers.
Videotron is the best of Quebec’s telecom companies, offering cable TV, video on demand, Internet, and wireless mobile services to their customers throughout Canada.
SaskTel is short for Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation. This Canadian telecommunications company is the largest one that’s based in Saskatchewan. SaskTel is owned by the government and is considered a crown-owned company.
- The company served just over 1.4 million customers yearly.
- SaskTel earned a net income of $119,8 million in 2019/2020 (SaskTel)
SaskTel provides its customers with both wired and wireless services and is considered one of the most versatile mobile companies in Central Canada. Services offered include grounded telephones, mobile phones, internet, and television services.
SaskTel’s history dates back to 1908.
SaskTel’s origins date back to 1908, where it was originally formed as the Department of Railways, Telegraphs and Telephones. It wasn’t until 1947 that SaskTel became its own branch and switched its name to the one we know today.
Now You Know
There are various telecom companies in Canada, but only the best and largest are recognized across the country. This article aims to briefly describe some of the best cell phone, mobile, and telecommunications companies offering service in Canada.