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A recent report of Total Telecom stated that IPTV is quickly gaining strong foothold in the Canadian pay-TV market in lieu of cable TV and satellite TV operations. According to the research firm IHS, in the third quarter of 2012, IPTV subscription in Canada was 9.6% of the total pay-TV subscriber base compared with 6.6% in the prior-year quarter. The two major companies, which are aggressively expanding their respective IPTV networks, are - Telus Corp. (TU - Analyst Report) and Bell Canada, a subsidiary of  BCE Inc. (BCE - Analyst Report).

In the third quarter of 2012, Telus added approximately 637,000 TV subscribers (including IPTV and satellite) and commands around 56% of Canadian IPTV market share. Bell Canada added 43,000 IPTV subscribers in the said quarter and enjoys 18% market share. Telus operates IPTV under “OPTIK TV” brand name, whereas Bell Canada operates as “FIBE TV”. IHS further estimated that IPTV subscribers may expands to more than 18% of total Canadian pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2017.

We believe the emergence of IPTV is a potential threat mainly to two established cable operators of Canada, namely, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI - Analyst Report) and Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR - Analyst Report). In the third quarter of 2012, Rogers lost 16,000 cable TV subscribers and Shaw lost 16,474 cable TV subscribers. The entry of Telus and Bell Canada into the IPTV market has significantly increased competition. In our view, this situation may likely slash Rogers’ and Shaw’s market shares and caps their respective margin expansion. 

Bell Canada is offering triple-play services with highly attractive prices, which is quite popular particularly among the low-end market segments. Furthermore, the company shares a national wireless network with Telus. 

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