sm-220-wind-mobile-rtxrx6l

The competitive presence of new wireless entrants was credited with helping take $1 off the average Canadian monthly wireless bill, bringing the average revenue per user from $58.81 to $57.86 per month, the report said. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Competition from new wireless providers helped shave $1 off the average Canadian cellphone user's monthly bill in 2010, the CRTC says.

The average wireless revenue per user fell from $58.81 per month in 2009 to $57.86 per month in 2010, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission reported in its annual Communications Monitoring report, released Thursday.

The telecommunications and broadcasting regulator credited the savings to the "competitive presence" of the four new wireless providers that launched last year — Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, Mobilicity and Videotron.

The four new providers combined had less than two per cent of the wireless market share across Canada in 2010, the report said. However, they managed to capture 25 per cent of new wireless subscriptions last year.

New wireless entrants

In 2008, the CRTC auctioned off several blocks of wireless airwaves to new entrants  to encourage competition in the wireless industry.

Wind Mobile was the first to begin rolling out its service in December 2009. Public Mobile and Mobilicity first launched in May 2010 and Videotron  began providing wireless service in September 2010. In some cases, the new networks launched in a single city and then gradually rolled out in others in subsquent months.

Overall, the number of wireless subscriptions in Canada grew by 8.5 per cent to 25.8 million, just slightly higher than the eight per cent growth the year before.

At the same time, the number of households with broadband internet subscriptions grew by 9.2 per cent to nine million — significantly higher than the six per cent growth in 2009.

The average residential broadband user download 14.8 gigabytes per month or the equivalent of 20 movies, the report said. Other findings in the report were:

  • Canadian anglophones spent an average of 17.1 hours online per week in 2010 — 2.6 more than they did in 2010. Francophones spent 12.7 hours online per week.
  • In 2010, the average Canadian watched 28 hours of television and listened to 17.6 hours of radio per week. Anglophones watched another 2.6 hours online, while francophones watched 1.5 hours. Both groups listened to an average of 4.8 hours per week of radio streamed online.
  • Nine per cent of Anglophones cellphone users and four per cent of francophones watched at least one video on their cellphone in 2010 — nearly double the percentage who did so in 2009.
  • Television subscribers paid $3.55 more per month for their services in 2010, an increase of 6.4 per cent over the previous year. The report said that was due to higher monthly fees, greater use of pay TV and on-demand services, and upgrades to digital or high-definition televisions.
  • Overall, broadcasting revenues for radio and television increased 8.9 per cent to $15.7 billion. The highest growth was for pay and specialty television, where revenues grew 11.1 per cent.
  • Conventional TV stations increased their revenues 9.9 per cent, broadcasting distributors saw 8.9 per cent growth, and commercial radio stations had a 2.9 per cent growth in revenues. Cable companies had a market share of 31 per cent.
  • Home telephone subscriptions decreased 0.9 per cent to 12.6 million.  Long distance revenues continued to fall. They accounted for 30 per cent of telecommunications revenues in 2010, down from 52 per cent in 2002.