Spending hits record levels for telco services: CRTC
Canadians can’t get enough internet, whether they’re Snapchatting on smartphones or watching Netflix at home.
Canadians used more data than ever on both wireless and fixed broadband connections in 2016, according to the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission’s 2017 Communications Monitoring Report.
The number of wireless subscriptions grew by more than three million, a 13.3-per-cent increase from 2015, according to the report released Thursday. Monthly mobile data usage jumped 25 per cent to 1.2 gigabytes, with more than a quarter of Canada’s more than 30 million subscribers opting for plans with at least 5 GB of data.
Residents also shelled out for more data and faster speeds from their home internet. Monthly data usage jumped 23.4 per cent to 128.3 GB. More than a quarter of subscribers (26 per cent) subscribed to packages with download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second, up from just 3.6 per cent five years ago.
“Canadians are ... increasingly using their mobile devices and home internet connections to watch content, access health care services, further their education or run their businesses,” CRTC chair Ian Scott said in a statement.
Last year, the CRTC set an ambitious target to offer minimum speeds of 50 Mbps to all Canadians by 2020, including those who live in rural and remote areas. These speeds were available to 84 per cent of Canadians at the end of 2016.
The increased usage came at a price. The average household spent $218.42 per month on communications services in 2016, up 1.7 per cent from $214.75 in 2015. Wireless accounted for 40 per cent of the budget, TV 25 per cent, internet 21 per cent and telephone 14 per cent.
This made for a great year for Canada’s telecommunications providers, which enjoyed quarter after quarter of wireless growth and higher revenue per user. Providers invested $11.6 billion in networks last year, up 11.3 per cent from $1.2 billion in 2015.
Telecommunications revenue hit $48.7 billion in 2016, up from $47.8 billion the year prior. Wireless accounted for $23.2 billion.
The internet segment grew the fastest after overtaking TV providers’ revenue for the first time in 2015. Its revenue rose by $930 million or 10.1 per cent in 2016 for a total of $10.2 billion.