Downloaded data skyrockets in 2015

CRTC releases complete 2016 Communications Monitoring Report.

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Oct. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released a report that shows how Canadians are downloading more data than ever as a result of the growing use of broadband technologies over mobile devices and within the home. The report is the second part of the 2016 Communications Monitoring Report on the communications industry and on the telecommunications sector in Canada.

Canadians' appetite to access mobile applications, multi-media services, social networks, and do other data-intensive activities like music, video and television streaming to personal electronic devices is increasing rapidly.

Wireless and fixed data usage has skyrocketed over the last year (across all subscribers) and more than two-thirds of all wireless subscribers have a data plan, the majority of those featured at least 1 gigabit of data usage per month. Data usage increased by 44% for wireless and approximately 40% for residential Internet services from 2014 to 2015.

Canadians are shifting the way in which they use their mobile devices, by placing an emphasis on data usage rather than voice services. This shift is increasing mobile device ownership yet again this year, with 73% of Canadians having a smartphone and 52% a tablet.  

Younger Canadians (30 and younger) spend more than three times the amount of money on mobile wireless services than other Canadians do. Those aged 65 years and older spend the least amount of money per month on mobile services.

As Canadians continue to migrate towards mobile wireless services, subscribing to landline telephone services continue to decrease. Mobile is in more Canadian households compared to landline services. Also, the gap separating mobile wireless only households compared to landline only households continues to increase.

Broadband networks are now reaching almost the entire population of Canada. The rise in Internet service availability is also reflected in the Internet subscription rates which have been increasing steadily since inception. More specifically, they have increased 3.3% from 2014. Subscriptions to plans 50 Mbps and higher have doubled their take-up rate in the last year.

For the first time ever, Internet access revenues surpassed broadcasting distribution revenues and has emerged as the second largest sector after wireless. The Internet and wireless sectors continue to be the drivers of growth in the telecommunications sector as well as for household expenses.

Quick Facts

The Communications Monitoring Report 

  • The 2016 Communications Monitoring Report provides a detailed overview of the Canadian communications industry, as well as industry data and information, including emerging trends and issues.
  • On October 25, 2016, the CRTC released data regarding the broadcasting sector.
  • Today, the CRTC released the second part on the communications industry and on the telecommunications sector in Canada.
  • The 2016 Communications Monitoring Report is now available in its entirety.

Communications industry

  • Telecommunications service revenues reached $47.8 billion and represented 73% of overall communications service revenues in 2015.
  • Communications industry revenues reached $65.7 billion in 2015, up from $64.1 billion in 2014. This growth is equivalent to 2.5% between 2014 and 2015.
  • Most of Canadians' spending on communications services went to mobile wireless services (38%), followed by home television services (26%), Internet services (20%), and home telephone services (16%).
  • In 2014, the average Canadian household spent $214.75 per month on communications services, an increase of $3.00 (or 1.4%) over 2013.


  • 98% of Canadian households can access a download speed of at least 5 megabits per seconds (Mbps). This figure increases to 99.5% when including mobile technologies.
  • Residential Internet data downloads increased approximately 40% from 2014, and over 50%, on average, from 2010 to 2015.
  • In 2015, Canadians downloaded an average of 93 GB of data monthly.
  • More than two-thirds of all residential high-speed Internet subscribers have plans greater than 100 GB per month.
  • Subscriptions to plans 50 Mbps and higher have doubled in the last year, going from 8% in 2014 to 16% in 2015.


  • Wireless data usage increased 44% from 2014 to 2015.
  • Subscriptions for wireless services was close to 30 million in 2015, corresponding to a 3.4% increase from 2014.
  • 195 billion text messages were sent and received in 2015 in Canada.
  • 74% of mobile subscribers have a data plan in 2015, compared to 67% in 2014.
  • Canadians under 30 years of age spend the most on monthly mobile wireless services ($114.42), while Canadians aged 65 years and older spend the least ($33.50).

Landline vs wireless

  • Providers of landline telephone services have reported nearly 800,000 in line reductions in 2015, while wireless services gained approximately 1 million new subscribers in the same year.
  • Mobile phones are now in 86% of Canadian households compared to 76% for landline telephones.
  • The percentage of mobile wireless only households (24%) exceeds the percentage of wireline only households (14%).
  • Mobile wireless service revenues increased to $22.5 billion or 51% of total retail revenues. For the first time ever, more than 50% of all retail revenues in 2015 were from wireless services.

"Our report illustrates how online and wireless services are becoming critical to Canadians' day-to-day lives. This trend will only continue to increase in the years to come. The explosive growth in data consumption clearly demonstrates that Canadians are relying more and more on streaming and real-time communication applications to consume content and communicate with the world. "

- Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman and CEO

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SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: Contacts: Media Relations, (819) 997-9403; General Inquiries, (819) 997-0313, Toll-free 1 (877) 249-CRTC (2782), TTY (819) 994-0423


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