Current trends - Mobile wireless

The data in this publication has been made available on Open Data in Excel and CSV format. View this on Open Data.

Sources: joint CRTC-Statistics Canada Quarterly Survey, CRTC annual Facilities Survey and CRTC annual Pricing Survey.

Mini-methodology & definitions

The financial, subscriber and traffic data, from the Quarterly Survey, is representative of approximately 90% of the telecommunications industry. The data is collected on a quarterly basis and is not adjusted for seasonality.

The pricing data, from the Pricing Survey, is representative of approximately 90% of the industry for a sample of 55 rural communities and 24 urban centres across Canada and is collected on an annual basis, as of December 31 for each year. Additional pricing methodology is available.

The coverage availability data, from the Facilities Survey, is representative of closer to 100% of the telecommunications market and is also collected on an annual basis. Additional facilities methodology is available.

  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) is a measure of revenue generated per subscriber. This is calculated by dividing the quarter’s revenues by the number of subscribers in that quarter, and generating a monthly statistic. This calculation differs from the ARPU formula used in the Telecom Highlights section.
  • First Nations reserve areas refers to land set aside by the federal government through the Indian Act or through treaties for the use of a specific band or First Nation. The band council has "exclusive user rights" to the land, but the land is "owned" by the Crown. The Indian Act states that this land cannot be owned by individual band members.

    The analysis of availability was based upon First Nations reserve areas, representing total population and dwellings on reserves according to the Statistics Canada census data and, as such, it may differ from other official sources.

    Statistics Canada uses census subdivisions to represent different areas in Canada. Census subdivisions are municipalities or areas that can be equated to municipalities for statistical purposes. The different census subdivisions used by Statistics Canada were assessed. Those that represent First Nations reserve areas were used in the data analysis and mapping of this population.
  • HSPA, HSPA+, LTE , LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), 5G: High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and Long-Term Evolution (LTE ) are the protocols or standards used for communications between a mobile phone and cell towers in mobile networks. HSPA is also referred to as 3G (third generation) cellular while LTE is referred to a 4G (fourth generation) cellular. HSPA+, or evolved High-Speed Packet Access, is a form of HSPA that uses technical measures to provide faster transmission speeds. LTE is the current standard that is now widely deployed in most mobile networks, while LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) is an enhancement of the LTE standard. 5G (NR) New Radio is a new radio access technology (RAT) that is referred to as the fifth generation. These networks promise to deliver significantly faster speeds, lower latency, and gains in spectral efficiency than prior generational networks, among other benefits.
  • Mobile wireless revenues and subscribers refers to the revenues generated from individual subscriptions for mobile phones, mobile broadband and other wireless devices (e.g., machine-to-machine devices such as cars, smart meters, and trains).
  • Mobile wireless data traffic refers to download and upload traffic travelling over mobile networks and includes traffic from mobile phones, mobile broadband and a small amount of other wireless devices (e.g., machine-to-machine devices).
  • Population areas (rural, small, medium and large/urban). Small population centres are considered to have populations of between 1,000 and 29,999. Medium population centres are considered to have populations of between 30,000 and 99,999. Large population centres are considered to have populations greater than 100,000. Rural areas have populations of less than 1,000, or fewer than 400 people per square kilometre. Rural communities are defined as areas with a population of less than 1,000 or a density of 400 or fewer people per square kilometre.
  • Road Ranks
    • Rank 1 refers to the Trans-Canada Highway (a total of 7,821 km).
    • Rank 2 refers to the national highway system that is not rank 1 (a total of 38,021 km).
    • Rank 3 refers to major highways that are not rank 1-2.
    • Rank 4 refers to secondary highways and major roads that are not rank 1-3.
    • Rank 5 refers to all other types of roads.

Financials and operations: revenues, subscribers and ARPU

Key takeaways for financials and operations

  • Mobile wireless revenues trends returning to normal: Despite a decline in wireless roaming revenues immediately after the pandemic began, mobile wireless revenue trends have begun to return to their normal seasonal fluctuality.
  • Subscribership is strong for mobile wireless: Mobile wireless subscribership has continued to increase over the past year, and appears to have not been adversely impacted by the pandemic. This trend is expected to continue as Canadians rely on their mobile devices more and more in the coming years.

Accessibility

Visual data browsing cannot be done through the screenreader but the equivalent of that graphed data can be downloaded for browsing.

Please note not all of the items listed on the following page apply to our dashboards: Keyboard Accessibility for Tableau on the Web (opens a new window to an external link)

Network availability: mobile coverage across Canada

CRTC targets for national mobile availability:

  • Target to reach 100% of population and as many major highways and roads with the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (i.e., LTE) by 2026. This target is on track.

For more information on mobile access targets, access the latest CRTC Departmental Results and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496.

Key takeaways for network availability

  • HSPA+, LTE and LTE-A is available to almost every Canadian, with very little difference between urban and rural availability. 5G deployment continues to progress across the country, having only been deployed in 2021.
  • Road coverage in Canada continues to increase, with the national highway system (excluding the trans-Canada highway) in need of the most improvement in coverage.

Accessibility

Visual data browsing cannot be done through the screenreader but the equivalent of that graphed data can be downloaded for browsing.

Please note not all of the items listed on the following page apply to our dashboards: Keyboard Accessibility for Tableau on the Web (opens a new window to an external link)

Consumers: prices and data usage trends

Key takeaways for consumer behaviour

  • Prices for mobile services are decreasing as an ever increasing number of consumers switch to large data packages.
  • Mobile data traffic increasing: Mobile wireless data traffic continues to increase with only an atypical and short-lived decline due to stay-at-home restrictions related to COVID-19.
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