CRTC report shows more Canadians going mobile

Two thirds of Canadians own a smartphone and almost half own a tablet computer, new numbers from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission revealed Tuesday.

Regulator shows more and more Canadians have a mobile device, and they're using them a lot more

Our mobile phone habits

7 years ago
Duration 2:22
Renee Filippone explains the findings of the CRTC’s latest telcom trends report

Two thirds of Canadians own a smartphone and almost half own a tablet computer, new numbers from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission revealed Tuesday.

In the second part of the regulator's three-part report on Canada's telecom inudstry, the CRTC said an increasing number of Canadians adopted leading edge mobile communications last year.

Some 67 per cent of Canadians owned a smartphone in 2014, up from 62 per cent the year prior. Tablet ownership jumped by even more, to 49 per cent of all Canadians. In 2013, the figure was 39 per cent.

All in all, 28.8 million Canadians were wireless subscribers last year, up 1.5 per cent from the level in 2013.

The wireless networks over which they are using those devices are getting faster too. The CRTC found 93 per cent of Canadians had access to some sort of long-term evolution or LTE network last year. That's up from 81 per cent the year before.

With more devices and faster networks, it's no surprise that Canadians are consuming more data. Wireless data usage was up by 15 per cent, the CRTC said, adding that people with a smartphone or tablet connected to the internet use an average of about 1 gigabyte of data per month.

The switch to mobile is on even in so-called "dumb" devices too. For the first time, more Canadians own a cellphone than have land lines, at 85 to 79 per cent. Many people still have both, but among those that have only one or the other, the percentage of cellphone-only households, at 20 per cent, currently exceeds the percentage of those with landlines only, at 14 per cent. That's also a first.

"[The] report provides a clear indication of where the Canadian telecommunications system is heading," CRTC chair J. P. Blais said. "As more Canadians are subscribing to faster internet speeds and using smartphones and tablets, they are able to participate more actively in the evolving digital economy."

Our land-based connections are getting faster and more prevalent, too. More than a third of Canadian households with an internet connection had a relatively fast one, capable of downloading greater than 16 megabits per second. In 2013, only a quarter of households had that.

And growth among even-faster connections of 50 megabits per second and up, doubled to eight per cent of households in 2014, from four in 2013.

Tuesday's report is the second of three reports on the telecom sector. The CRTC released the first report, focusing on the communications sector, last week. The third, focusing on the broadcasting industry, will be released in the coming days.


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