VoIP competitors: Companies vying for the market
Last Updated November 15, 2006
The race is on as Canadian telecommunications companies jockey for a share of the VoIP market, the "voice-over-internet protocol" that allows use of a computer to make telephone calls. Main players include:
Bell Canada, the country's largest telephone company — which already provides local and long-distance telephone, wireless communications, internet access, data, satellite television and other services — aims to offer 90 per cent of its customers a full range of internet services.
It's also poised to enter the cable TV business, filing an application with the CRTC in June 2004 seeking licences to offer cable service to the most populated areas of Quebec and Ontario.
Bell Canada, which is based in Montreal, is already the dominant satellite television provider and owns about half of Aliant, the dominant telephone company in Atlantic Canada.
It's owned by BCE Inc., a communications holding company with $28 billion in revenues, whose subsidiaries include CTV, the Globe and Mail and TQS, a French-language network in Quebec.
Telus Corp., Canada's second-largest telephone company with revenues of more than $17 billion, asked the CRTC in June 2004 to let it launch national VoIP service. It currently offers VoIP service to its business customers.
Telus argues that it would be unfair for the CRTC to let foreign companies such as Vonage take full advantage of Canada's high-speed internet platform to deliver VoIP, while limiting the companies that built the infrastructure.
Telus also provides wireless service across the country.
Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.
Primus launched Canada's first high-speed internet phone service in January 2004, providing basic phone service for as little as $19.99 a month to its broadband customers.
Primus is a subsidiary of Primus Telecommunications Group Inc., a Virginia-based company with annual revenues of $751 million US.
In Canada, it has more than 900,000 long-distance customers, while also offering local phone, wireless and internet services.
In April 2004, Navigata introduced VoIP service in eight cities in Alberta and British Columbia, including Vancouver and Calgary. It has since expanded to parts of Saskatchewan.
It's owned by the Regina-based Crown corporation Saskatchewan Telecommunications, which operates local telephone, wireless and internet service in Saskatchewan.
Rogers Cable Inc.
Rogers Cable has gone head-to-head against Bell and other companies by providing local and long-distance telephone service to its customers through its cable network.
Rogers, Canada's largest cable company, offers traditional home phone service as well as VoIP service to most of the area its cable network covers, which includes systems in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and southwestern Ontario.
It's owned by Rogers Communications Inc., a Toronto-based company with revenues topping $8 billion, which offers cable television, internet and wireless services.
Shaw Communications Inc.
Shaw Communications Inc., which provides cable television and internet services in Western Canada, also rolled out VoIP by piggy-backing it on its high-speed internet connection.
The company, based in Calgary, takes in more than $7.6 billion in annual revenues.
Dozens of other companies have also entered the VoIP market, including Vonage Canada — which launched VoIP services in some Canadian markets in the spring of 2004 — as well as Telehop, Virtutone and Comwave.
Vonage is an arm of one of the fastest-growing telephony companies in the United States, New Jersey-based Vonage Holdings Corp.
AOL Canada Inc., a Toronto-based broadband provider owned by telecommunications giant Time Warner, joined the club but pulled out on Oct. 22, 2006.
- Federal cabinet asks CRTC to reconsider VoIP policy (May 5, 2006)
- Shaw, Vonage engage in war of words over internet phone service (March 8, 2006)
- Vonage protests special fees on VoIP telephones (March 7, 2006)
- Internet phones to ring at Royal Bank, and in Vancouver (Jan. 11, 2006)
- Big phone companies to ask Ottawa to block internet phone ruling (June 13, 2005)
- CRTC rules against big phone companies (May 12, 2005)
- Quebec cable company starts phone service (Jan. 24, 2005)
- Shaw moving into internet phones (June 25, 2004)
- Regulatory framework for voice communication services using Internet Protocol
- Bell Digital Voice
- Primus TalkBroadband
- WebCall by Navigata
- Rogers Internet Phone Service
- Shaw Digital Phone
- Cogeco Digital Phone
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