Smartphone and tablet ownership on the rise

CRTC releases 2015 report on the state of the Canadian telecommunications industry

OTTAWA and GATINEAU, QC, Oct. 27, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released information on the telecommunications sector from the 2015 Communications Monitoring Report.

Overall telecommunication service revenues increased by 2.5%, reaching $45.9 billion in 2014.

The report shows that the adoption of smartphones and tablets is growing among Canadians. In 2014, 67% of Canadians owned a smartphone compared to 62% in 2013. Tablet ownership increased to 49% compared to 39% in 2013. The percentage of Canadians who could access fourth-generation (LTE or long-term evolution) wireless networks rose from 81% in 2013 to 93% in 2014.

Wireless data usage grew by 15% in 2014 as Canadians increasingly adopt mobile applications, multimedia services, social networking, Internet browsing and other data-intensive activities on their wireless devices. Canadians with a smartphone or tablet used an average of nearly 1 gigabyte of data per month.

More and more Canadians are shifting from traditional landlines to mobile phones. Mobile phones are now in 85% of Canadian households compared to 79% for landline telephones. The percentage of cellphone-only households (20%) currently exceeds the percentage of wireline only households (14%).

The percentage of households that subscribed to an Internet service with a download speed of 16 megabits per second (Mbps) or higher increased from 25% in 2013 to 34% in 2014. There is clearly an interest in higher download speeds: the number of customer subscriptions for speeds of 50 Mbps doubled in 2014 compared with the previous year (from 4% to 8%), and subscriptions for 10 Mbps rose from 45% to 55%. In 2014, 87% of high-speed Internet subscribers had access to download capacities of 40 gigabytes, compared to 76% in 2013. 

The CRTC is releasing the Communications Monitoring Report in three parts. The first part contains data on the communication industry and was released on October 22, 2015. Today, the CRTC released the second part, which contains data on the telecommunications sector. The third part will be released in the coming days and will include data on the broadcasting industry.

Quick Facts

Wireless services

  • In 2014, there were 28.8 million wireless subscribers in Canada, an increase of 1.5% from the previous year.
  • Over 66% of Canadians own a smartphone, and 49% of Canadians use tablets – an increase over 2013, when the percentages were 62% and 39%, respectively.
  • In 2014, the percentage of Canadians with access to fourth-generation wireless networks (LTE or long-term evolution) increased from 81% to 93% in a year.
  • The market share of subscribers served by smaller wireless competitors increased from 5% in 2013 to 6% in 2014.
  • In 2014, Canadian households spent an average of $79.08 per month on wireless services.
  • Approximately 70% of wireless plans which include data featured at least 1 GB of data usage per month.


  • In 2014, broadband availability for residential services (excluding satellite) was 97% nationally; 100% in urban areas and 87% in rural areas.
  • The number of households that subscribe to Internet services grew by 3.4% from 11.3 million in 2013 to 11.6 million in 2014.
  • The average number of gigabytes downloaded per month by residential subscribers increased by 49% between 2013 and 2014, rising from 45 to 67 gigabytes.
  • In 2014, Canadian households spent an average of $38.91 per month on Internet services.
  • The market share of subscribers captured by independent internet service providers increased very slightly in 2014 to reach 10.7%.


  • The percentage of households subscribing to wireline telephone service has declined from 89% in 2010 to 80% in 2013, a reduction of approximately 380,000 households.
  • In 2014, Canadian households spent an average of $31.10 per month on home telephone services.

Revenues and expenditures

  • The revenues generated by the retail wireless service industry grew to $22 billion, a 3.7% increase over 2013.
  • The revenues generated by the retail Internet service industry increased by 8.6% to $8.4 billion.
  • The revenues generated by the retail wireline voice communication industry were $9.1 billion, a 4.3% decrease from 2013.
  • In 2014, larger telecommunication companies allocated $14.7 billion to capital expenditures for maintaining, improving and expanding networks.

"The second part of the Communications Monitoring Report provides a clear indication of where the Canadian telecommunications system is heading. 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. "

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman

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SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: 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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