Lawrence Surtees manages IDC Canada's communications research agenda and is IDC's lead analyst covering the Canadian telecom services sector, including the wireline, wireless and Internet segments, and the CRTC. Lawrence also works on related IDC consulting projects.
Widely regarded as one of Canada's foremost telecommunications experts and the global authority on Nortel Networks, he has covered the telecom sector for more than 28 years.
Prior to joining IDC Canada in Sept. 2000, Lawrence spent 17 years as a reporter at The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto where the bulk of his tenure was spent on the Report on Business where he covered telecommunications and related high-technology companies. (He was also The Globe's medical reporter from 1988 to 1990.)
He has written more than 3,000 articles published in newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States and has won numerous awards for his writing, including a National Newspaper Award in 1993. Lawrence began his journalism career in Ottawa in 1981 where he was editor of a weekly newsletter on communications policy and regulatory issues.
Lawrence has also served as an advisor on New Media technologies to the telecommunications committee of the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association's Board of Directors from 1994 to 1996.
A biographee in the Canadian Who's Who, Lawrence is also the author of two books on the Canadian telecommunications industry: Pa Bell, his history of BCE, was published in 1992; and Wire Wars, the inside story of the long-distance competition battle, was published in 1994. He is in frequent demand as an industry speaker, media commentator and university lecturer and holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Western Ontario.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Associated IDC Services (2)
- Canadian Telecom Market Drivers and Strategies
- Canadian Telecom Overview
University of Western Ontario: MA, Journalism 1981
University of Toronto at Scarborough: BA (Honours), Political Science; History; Biology 1980
Media Appearances (15)
IDC Canada analyst predicts 5G-driven wireless growth and the rise of unlimited data
5G will drive increased growth in an already growing wireless market, according to Lawrence Surtees, vice-president of communications research and principal analyst at IDC Canada. In his Canadian Wireless Services Forecast for the years 2017 to 2021, co-authored with Nikhil Anand, Surtees reports five percent revenue growth in the Canadian wireless market over this past year — which is only slightly decreased from 5.5 percent growth the year before. Subscriber growth, meanwhile, is a little below that, at almost 4 percent for consumers and 3 percent for business — an area where Surtees sees abundant room for growth. “My thesis is that having much greater wireless broadband capacity and speed [with 5G] will fuel bandwidth intensive business applications,” Surtees told MobileSyrup.
Businesses are hanging up on the desk phone
The days of cradling a desk phone between your head and shoulder on a long conference call are over for KPMG LLP’s Canadian employees.
The accounting and advisory firm has deactivated desk phones for all of its approximately 5,000 employees, who now have to make voice calls with an app on their laptops connected to headsets or puck-sized speakers.
Rogers and Telus step up wireless promotions to counter serious threat from Freedom Mobile
Canada’s major wireless players appear to be treating Shaw Communications Inc.’s mobile business as a more serious threat after its latest play to expand its network, a move some researchers see as a welcome, but preliminary sign, of increased competition in the national arena.
Ten reasons why cloud collaboration tools have become a competitive necessity
IT World Canada
Over 60 per cent of Canadian enterprises are now using some form of unified communications to drive a culture of collaboration, according to an IDC study.
Unified communications (UC) provides new ways for organizations to engage with customers, partners and employees, anywhere and at anytime. It’s a rapidly evolving market, with an increasing number of users adopting UC services in the cloud, Lawrence Surtees, research vice president with IDC Canada told participants at a recent ITWC webinar.
Canadians' thirst for wireless data is growing — and so is the cry for unlimited plans
Canadians don't talk as much as they used to on their mobile phones, but the country's telecom market is still booming thanks to an unquenchable thirst for wireless data.
That leads some customers to question why unlimited wireless data plans are almost non-existent in Canada. Meanwhile, every major U.S. carrier offers one.
Millennials driving next-gen telecom: IDC report
If you believe recent headlines, people born between 1980 and 2000 are ‘just saying no’ to drugs on a massive scale, will ‘never’ be able to afford their own homes and are even to blame for weak sales figures at Pottery Barn.
You may want to take some or all of that with a grain of salt. But millennials really are causing massive shifts in the enterprise telecom space, according to IDC’s new five-year forecast for the Canadian telecom services market.
IDC Canada analyst forecasts half a million new wireless subscriptions in 2017
The Canadian wireless market will see incremental growth in 2017 in both subscribers and value due mainly to increased demand for mobile data, according to Lawrence Surtees, IDC Canada’s vice-president of communications research.
How 5G mobile data will enable the next generation of VR, autonomous cars and more
Low latency will also enable and improve Internet of Things applications. Video doorbells and home security cameras, for example, won’t have the same lag when connecting to users’ smartphones as they do today.
When combined with better speeds and more throughput, lower latency is also expected to enable ubiquitous augmented reality, virtual reality and video.
How a new wave of startups are bringing law enforcement into the digital age
“You’ll be able to stream full-motion high-quality video while on a train that’s going 250 kilometres an hour,” says Lawrence Surtees, research vice-president for communications at analysis firm IDC. “You can’t do that now.”
Start the bidding at $4.1B, Premier Brad Wall indirectly puts pricetag on SaskTel
Premier Brad Wall suggested on Tuesday that any offer for SaskTel would need to cover certain criteria, including being able to eliminate the province's operating debt, which is currently $4.1 billion.
Wall reiterated earlier statements that the province does not have an offer on the table for the Crown corporation...
Lawrence Surtees is a telecom expert who has been studying the industry in Canada for more than 35 years.
He said the premier is being pragmatic about any potential sale and has set a high bar for any potential suitor.
"I think if someone were to come and offer and it was significantly below what the debt amount is the province wouldn't even look at it I think that's basically between the lines of what he's saying," Surtees said.
Yahoo’s latest acquisition is all about digital content, according to analysts
IT World Canada
Regardless of the acquisition’s outcome, it’s unlikely to affect Canada anytime soon, IDC Canada Ltd. telecom analyst Lawrence Surtees says.
Instead, it’s a rare example of an American telecom giant catching up to its northern counterpart.
“When I looked at the deal that Verizon did a year ago with AOL, and the executive rationale, I kind of smiled to myself and said, ‘it’s almost like Verizon is taking a page out of BCE’s playbook in Canada,'” Surtees says. “We’ve been doing this for two decades… and they’re just starting to go down this route now.”
Too early to fear for the future of SaskTel: analyst
Telecommunications consultant Lawrence Surtees says the only possible risks to SaskTel are hypothetical at this point, after an independent review found SaskTel at risk of reduced profits following the proposed sale of Manitoba Telecom Services to Bell.
Bidding war for SaskTel could draw in Bell, Telus: analyst
A billion-dollar bidding war could erupt if SaskTel is put up on the auction block, a telecommunications analyst says.
Bell Canada and Telus would both be interested, according to Lawrence Surtees, a telecommunications consultant with IDC Canada.
BCE deal for Manitoba Tel carries tax benefit
BCE's purchase of Manitoba Telecom Services could give the firm a boost on the tax side, as MTS has tax loss carryforwards that could ease the bill at the end of the year. For perspective, BNN is joined by Lawrence Surtees, Vice-president & Principal Analyst, IDC Canada.
SDN: Your network is about to get a lot smarter
Double-digit growth for a particular product category is one thing, but growth of more than 50 per cent, per year, usually demands a double take — and software-defined networking is set for a 53.9 per cent compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2020, according to IDC.
BCE meets Street, raises payout
BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) is raising its dividend five percent after fourth-quarter adjusted earnings met expectations and amid what the company’s CFO calls a “very strong” financial foundation.
Lawrence Surtees, Nikhil Anand
This IDC study updates IDC Canada's annual forecast of the Canadian wireless communication services market.
"The burgeoning popularity of wireless, coupled with a growing mobile workforce and increasing wireless substitution, strengthens the primacy of wireless as the preferred method of communications and engine of telecom revenue growth in Canada," says Lawrence Surtees, study author and vice president of Communications Research at IDC Canada. "The advent and need for next-generation 5G wireless networks will further drive use of and spending on wireless data at the end of the current forecast period and beyond."
Lawrence Surtees, Nikhil Anand
This IDC study is the third iteration of the Canadian business TV services forecast and updates Canadian Business TV Services Forecast, 2016–2020 (IDC Canada #CA40658016, October 2016).
"Business video services are viewed by Canadian communication service providers (CSPs) as a significant opportunity," says study author Lawrence Surtees, vice president of Communications Research and principal analyst of IDC Canada. "But the dramatic changing nature of video delivery technology and increased competition looming from over-the-top and wireless providers means CSPs will be severely challenged in trying to grow the business video market."
This IDC Market Note discusses the proposed Chinese takeover of Norsat. A proposed Chinese acquisition of Vancouver-based Norsat International Inc. and the federal government's approval earlier in June of the bid for the Canadian high-tech satellite communication antenna system equipment maker has garnered politically motivated attacks that the deal is harmful to Canadian and United States national security. We believe the Trudeau government conducted an adequate review and Hytera's acquisition of Norsat should proceed.
Manish Nargas, Emily Taylor, Lawrence Surtees, Nikhil Anand
This IDC study examines the forecast for Canadian TV service subscribers and revenue. It also addresses the current state of cable TV, satellite TV, and IPTV markets as well as the key drivers and inhibitors underlying the forecast.
Lawrence Surtees, Nikhil Anand, Manish Nargas
This IDC study presents IDC Canada's five-year forecasts for communications services spending by customer segment, company size, industry sector, and region for 2016–2021 based on the annual update of IDC Canada's custom Communications Market Model and replaces our previous comprehensive forecast document (see Canadian Telecom Services Forecast, 2016–2020: Telecom Inside Out, IDC Canada #CA40658516, May 2016).
Manish Nargas, Nikhil Anand, Lawrence Surtees, Emily Taylor
This IDC study examines consumer wireless voice and data, residential dial-up and high-speed internet, and residential phone services and addresses the current state of these markets in Canada. It provides forecasts for both subscriptions and revenue, as well as the key drivers and inhibitors behind the forecast.
This IDC Market Perspective examines the rationale and benefits of cloud-based unified communications and collaboration (UCC) and details of the offerings of Telus.
"Cloud-based unified communications and collaboration offerings have recently emerged as a viable deployment option by communications service providers (CSPs)," says Lawrence Surtees, report author and vice president of Communications Research at IDC Canada.
This IDC Market Perspective updates IDC Canada's previous analysis of Canadian telecommunications service providers' 2016 capital expenditure forecasts. CSPs are facing a transition to become service providers of the future to face the twin challenges of market erosion by new entrants and cable players in each other's core markets coupled with stalled penetration in wireless. These forces will sustain Canadian CSP capex spending at C$11.5 billion in 2017, according to IDC Canada's annual communications capital expenditure study.
"The imperative of investing in next-generation network technologies has become urgent for incumbent service providers to enable them to compete against global newcomers that are unencumbered by legacy networks but also provides many compelling benefits for CSPs to undertake this journey now," says study author Lawrence Surtees, vice president and principal analyst in the Communications Practice at IDC Canada Ltd.
This IDC study is IDC Canada's 16th annual examination of Canadian communications services sector market shares and a competitive overview of each market segment for the full year 2016. Unlike previous years in which we published the full Who's Who guide with 75 vendor profiles, we will supplement this overview with two other studies in the Canadian Telecom Market Drivers and Strategies program that cover the range of developments affecting telecom markets in Canada and include detailed vendor profiles: Canadian Communications Service Provider Capex Budgets, 2016–2017 (forthcoming), which is IDC Canada's annual telecom capital expenditure study, and a second study profiling players in a specific market segment that will change each year (see Lawrence Surtees, CSPs of the Future — High Fibre: Canadian Fibre-Optic Networks, IDC Canada #CA40308516, April 2016).
"Disruptive technologies such as "over-the-top" service delivery in both consumer and enterprise markets, and the global transformation of ICT platforms, are spawning new competitors while changing the economics of service delivery," says study author Lawrence Surtees, vice president and principal analyst in the Communications Practice at IDC Canada Ltd. "CSPs face compelling reasons to urgently make the transition to become the service providers of the future to face the twin challenges of market erosion coupled with lower-than-expected growth and stalled penetration in wireless. CSPs that eagerly and swiftly make the transition will not perish."
This IDC Presentation provides top-line survey findings from IDC Canada's most recent annual Business Telecom Survey conducted in October-November 2016. The slide deck contains important data and observations on the uptake of telecom services and spending intentions by Canadian enterprises, with responses shown by business size segment. IDC Canada moved this survey to an online methodology for the first time in 2016. The sample size was also increased to 400 online business telecommunications and network decision makers. We refined the questions on wireless device "BYOD," unified communications, and business spending on TV video and added cloud delivery to several sections.
This IDC Insight is intended to provide some observations and considerations of president-elect Donald J. Trump's administration on the Canadian ICT sector. Given the unpredictability of the situation, IDC is not making any definitive forecasts but rather offering viewpoints of what to look for in the next several months, and the potential impacts. The insights are intended for ICT vendors and anyone with an interest in telecom and internet policy, technology trade, innovation, R&D, outsourcing, and IT talent management.
This IDC Insight examines the new policy and actions taken by the CRTC to curb the incidence of unsolicited telemarketing calls and better protect both wireline and wireless telephone consumers. This Insight also examines an example of a new automated network-based protection service that takes advantage of crowdsourcing feedback.
This IDC Insight examines the wave of acquisitions in the past 12 months that will significantly alter the landscape of Canada's telecom sector and affect the competitive positions of several major players, particularly in Western Canada. This study examines the four most significant deals and assesses their impacts, especially on SaskTel.
This IDC Presentation provides a view of the current state of the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market in Canada. It offers insight into current market trends and developments, particularly with wireless integration and the rise of cloud-based UCC as a service. This Presentation includes an examination of:
- The Canadian UCC market opportunity
- Drivers and adoption of UCC in Canada
- The changing nature and demographics of work and centrality of mobility
- UCC in the cloud
- The competitive landscape and UCC offers of major Canadian CSPs
- Provides advice for UCC providers
This IDC study updates our previous market forecast (see Canadian Wireless Services Forecast, 2015–2019: Wireless Wars 12, IDC #CA11TM15, November 2015).
"The rise of a mobile workforce coupled with increasing wireless substitution and soaring consumption of wireless data strengthens the primacy of wireless as the preferred method of communications — and boosting wireless revenue as a proportion of total telecom revenue in Canada," says Lawrence Surtees, study author and vice president of Communications Research at IDC Canada. "The advent of gigabit wireless and need for next-generation fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks will further exponentially drive use of and spending on wireless data at the end of the current forecast period and beyond."
This IDC Insight in IDC Canada's occasional CSPs of the Future series provides an overview of Allstream's suite of next-generation IP-based business voice and advanced UC&C services built on SIP trunks and hosted cloud-based delivery. This Insight examines the features, benefits, and some of the challenges associated with three services in Allstream's new business voice portfolio: the most recently launched Allstream MiCloud service based on Mitel Corp.'s cloud-based alternative to a customer-owned PBX, Hosted Collaboration Service built on a Cisco Systems platform to replace Centrex, and SIP trunk service to replace traditional business phone lines.
This IDC study is IDC Canada's 15th annual examination of Canadian communications services sector market shares and a competitive overview of each market segment for the full year 2015. Unlike previous years in which we published the full Who's Who guide with 75 vendor profiles, we will supplement this overview with two other studies in the Canadian Telecom Market Drivers and Strategies program that cover the range of developments affecting telecom markets in Canada and include detailed vendor profiles: Canadian Communications Service Provider Capex Budgets, 2015–2016 (IDC #CA40658616, April 2016), which is published annually, and a second study profiling players in a specific market segment that will change each year (see Lawrence Surtees, CSPs of the Future — High Fibre: Canadian Fibre-Optic Networks, IDC #CA40308516, April 2016).
This IDC study presents IDC Canada's five-year forecasts for communications services spending by customer segment, company size, industry sector, and region for 2015–2020 based on the annual update of IDC Canada's custom Communications Market Model and replaces our previous comprehensive forecast document (see Canadian Telecom Services 2015–2019 Forecast: Telecom Inside Out, IDC #CA6TM15, May 2015).
This IDC study provides a forward-looking five-year forecast update to our previous market forecast, Canadian Consumer Wireless, Internet, and Phone Services Forecast, 2015–2019 (IDC #CA3CIV15, May 2015), which analyzes drivers and inhibitors impacting the consumer services market in Canada.
"Obtaining subscriber growth in consumer communication services is more challenging than ever as penetration rates continue to rise," say authors Emily Taylor, senior analyst; and Manish Nargas, analyst; Consumer Services and Mobility at IDC Canada. "Targeted marketing tactics, offering new services and devices, and continuing to move toward integrated fixed and mobile broadband will help maintain revenue."
This IDC study examines the current drivers of growth of optical networking and provides brief profiles of more than three dozen national, regional, and local optical networks in Canada. Modern communications are increasingly dependent ...
This IDC study updates IDC Canada's previous analysis of Canadian telecommunications service providers' 2015 capital expenditure forecasts. CSPs are facing a transition to become service providers of the future to face the twin challenge ...
This IDC Insight in IDC Canada's occasional CSPs of the Future series examines software-defined networks, which is a key enabler of network transformation.
Network virtualization and service automation made possible by SDN are both a challenge and a necessity for CSPs if they are to make the shift to next-generation business models.
The development and deployment of new network architecture technology, including SDN with powerful Big Data and analytics (BDA), may at last promise a long-awaited and much-needed transformation of CSP back offices. But this will also require a fundamental rethink of the CSP and management of the more complex issue of organizational change.
IDC's Quick Take
Shaw Communications Inc.'s entry into Canada's wireless services market with a C$1.6-billion deal to buy Wind Mobile is viewed by IDC as strongly positive for both companies and for the country's telecom landscape because it elevates Shaw to a stronger position as a fourth converged national communications service provider (CSP) and resolves the uncertainty over Wind's viability.
This IDC Insight in IDC Canada's occasional CSPs of the Future series examines several next-generation wireless technologies and their status, including 4G LTE-Advanced, Gigabit WiFi (or "WiGig"), small cell wireless "HetNets" and LTE/WiFi convergence, the status of 5G wireless network development, and the move toward submillimeter wave terahertz wireless frequencies.
The linkage between next-generation wireless technology with new network architecture technologies is a vivid example of the evolving 3rd Platform era.
The imperative of investing in next-generation network technologies that enable the CSP of the future has become urgent for incumbent wireless providers to enable the launch of new apps to grow revenue and compensate for slower subscriber growth, meet projected bandwidth demand, and make more efficient use of scarce spectrum.
This IDC study is the second iteration of the Canadian business TV services forecast and updates Canadian Business TV Services Forecast, 2015–2019 (IDC #CA0TM15, November 2015).
"Video services are an important segment of the Canadian communication landscape and viewed by service providers as a significant new opportunity in the highly competitive business communications market. But the nature of video delivery technology is changing dramatically," says study author Lawrence Surtees, vice president of Communications Research and principal analyst of IDC Canada.