Industry Lens: Telecommunications—June 2021

The Conference Board of Canada, June 10, 2021
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This online report examines the short-and medium-term economic and profitability outlook for Canada’s telecommunications industry.

Document Highlights

  • Despite the pandemic, Canada’s telecommunications industry output did not drop in 2020. However, its growth fell to a six-year low of 1.5 per cent. We expect a better 2.0 per cent output increase this year, and a stronger 3.7 per cent advance in 2022.
  • Canadians pay some of the world’s highest telecommunication prices, despite evidence that prices for standard consumer bundles are falling.
  • Industry concentration is an important reason for these high prices—and Rogers’ bid for Shaw promises to increase this concentration.
  • The industry is currently rolling out the 5G generation of mobile technology, and faces a key auction of associated electromagnetic wireless spectrum positions this year.
  • Although telecommunications employment rose nearly 17 per cent in 2020 due to increased consumer demand during the pandemic, the longer-term trend is downward. We expect the number of telecommunications jobs to continue declining over the next few years, starting with a 1.1 per cent drop in 2021.

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