Quarterly Customer Growth, Top Three Operators, Q2 06 - Q3 07
Although the market remained clearly segmented with no sign of any imminent changes, there has been some movement in terms of the gaps between the top three operators. At the end of Q3 06, the difference between first-placed Rogers and second-placed Bell was almost exactly the same as that between Bell and TELUS, at just under 0.83 million. Since then, Rogers has extended its lead over Bell to 1.13 million, while TELUS has narrowed the deficit between it and second place to 0.62 million. Its annual growth rate of 10.9% was the highest in the market, and was almost double that of Bell (5.6%). Rogers posted a respectable 9.5%, while its quarterly rate of 3.5% was the best of any operator in 2007 so far. Moreover, quarterly net additions of 243k almost matched the Q4 06 figure of 245k. Both TELUS and Bell were well behind with figures of 135k and 137k respectively, although Bell will be delighted with this result since it is the first quarter in which it has beaten TELUS since Q2 05.
In terms of annual net additions, however, TELUS is still well ahead with 532k compared to Bell's 317k - although market leader Rogers leads the way with 621k.
As the chart shows, Rogers was by far the fastest growing of the top three in Q3 07, repeating its performance of Q3 06. Despite beating TELUS in terms of net additions, Bell did not manage to outpace its rival in terms of proportionate growth, recording a rate of 2.3% to TELUS's 2.6%. The chart also shows that all three operators are subject to the same seasonal variations, but TELUS has put in the most consistent performance of the three, taking first or second place for quarterly growth in each of the past six quarters.
This is even more impressive given that it has a significantly higher blended ARPU than Bell, with a quarterly average of Can$64.8 per month at the end of Q3 compared to Bell's Can$56.0. Having said that, Bell has shown a Can$3 improvement compared to Q3 06, while TELUS has lost Can$0.9. Moreover, Bell's Q3 07 figure was its highest ever. Rogers does not release a blended ARPU figure, but its contract and prepaid figures both represented record highs of Can$75.2 and Can$18.2 respectively. As we commented in Issue 79 of The Mobile World Briefing, it is imperative for the operators that they maintain this growth in ARPU in the absence of significant expansion in their customer bases.
Having said that, by this time next year the criteria for success in the Canadian market may have altered quite dramatically, since the Canadian government has recently announced that it is preparing to allow the entrance of a fourth nationwide operator, with a spectrum auction pencilled in for May of next year.
Source: Cellular News.