Videotron's VoIP Heating Up Quebec Market

Kevin Restivo ran a nice piece today in the Financial Post on how effective Videotron continues to be taking business from Bell in Quebec with its low priced service.

The article talks about Videotron signing up 62,500 subs since launching in February, and claim to be on pace to hit 180,000 by year end. Bell pretty much has a monopoly on local phone service in Quebec, and Videotron claims that almost half of their subs cancelled their Bell service. That's got to send a clear message to both Bell and the CRTC that consumers welcome choice and competition for phone service. Of course, it remains to be seen if Videotron can make money with a $15.95 basic price point, but they're certainly winning mindshare with the consumer.

For those of you outside of Canada, 62,500 subs may not sound like much, but remember, the US is 10 times our size. Yes, Time Warner has already hit this number on proportional basis - they're up around 700,000, but their footprint is exponentially bigger. Videotron launched in only one market - Montreal - and at that, only in the South Shore section. So, just imagine the takeup they can achieve with a province-wide rollout, especially as Bell is distracted with its CRTC Telecom Policy proposal, and their Digital Voice VoIP offering being limited to 3 small Quebec markets.

No doubt, Rogers is closely watching, as they are in the same position to roll out cable VoIP here in Ontario. They've already done so, but in much quieter way - and not surprisingly, are not receiving much attention. Somehow, I don't think it will stay that way for long.