The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today release its annual Communications Monitoring Report.
The main takeaway from the report, which provides a vital snapshot of Canada’s telecommunications landscape, is that for the time in Canadian history more of the country’s households now subscribe exclusively to a wireless service than they do to a telephone service. Specifically, 20.4 percent of Canadian households are subscribed only to a wireless service compared to the 14.4 percent that are subscribed exclusively to a landline service.
In 2004, little more than half of Canadian households — 53.9 percent, to be precise — subscribed to a wireless service. By contrast, that same year 96.3 percent of the country’s households were paying for a landline. A decade later, those numbers have shifted to the point where 84.9 percent of households have a mobile subscription, and a still significant, though declining, 78.9 percent maintain a landline.
More and more Canadians are also turning to online video services. Netflix subscription rates among English speakers in the 18-34 years old age group rose from 29 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2014. Likewise, the same trend was seen with French-speaking Canada where the rate rose from 7 percent to 24 percent during the same time period.
What hasn’t changed is the country’s competitive landscape. Despite the rise of capable regional players like MTS and SaskTel, the revenues generated by the country’s top five broadcasting and telecommunications entities — Bell Canada, Quebecor, Rogers, TELUS, and Shaw — account for 84 percent of this country’s total telecom industry revenue.
Moreover, Canadians continue to pay more to access these services. Since 2013, the amount the average Canadian household spends on communication packages has risen by $11.92 to $203.04. Like the rise in mobile usage, on average Canadians are spending more on wireless subscriptions ($79.8 per month) than they are on Internet access ($31.10 per month).
Canadian wireless expenditures rose 14.1 percent, from $69.33 to $79.08, between 2013 and 2014, the highest single-year increase to date.