Two-thirds of Canadian Households Have Access to a Wireless Phone Wireless Adoption by Canadians 55 and Older Doubles

OTTAWA, May 16, 2006 – A new Decima Research study commissioned by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) reveals that two-thirds (64%) of Canadian households report owning or having access to a wireless phone. This result represents a significant increase since the last time this study was conducted in 2000, when only 44% of Canadian households claimed wireless phone access.

Albertans continue to be at the forefront of wireless phone adoption with a household wireless penetration rate of 79%, while Quebecers represent the other end of the wireless penetration spectrum at 51%.

The research also estimates that approximately 8% of households that currently have access to a wireless phone have in fact replaced their traditional telephone line. This equates to approximately 5% of all Canadian households. The study reports that 17% of Canadian households that currently have a wireless phone, or plan to have one in the next 12 months, are likely to replace an existing wireline service with a wireless service.

Speaking today in Toronto at “Work.Live.Play. – The Infinite Potential of Wireless”, the industry’s annual conference, CWTA President and CEO Peter Barnes said, “It is clear that Canadians now view wireless as an alternative to landline service in the home.” “In addition to the longstanding competition within the wireless industry, we are now seeing wireless services compete in what has been viewed as the traditional local phone market,” he added.

The 20% average increase in national wireless household penetration from 2000 to 2006, for the most part is consistent across all segments of the population. The increase in penetration has however been particularly sharp among the following segments: in Atlantic Canada – from 36% to 63%; among 18 to 34 year olds – from 45% to 74%; among older Canadians (55+) – from 24% doubling to 48%; and among university graduates – from 50% to 73%.

“Of particular interest from an age segment perspective is the fact that historically, Canadians in the 35 to 54 age bracket were typically the ones driving growth in wireless penetration,” said Rick Nadeau, Decima’s Vice President, Telecommunications and Cultural Affairs. “But in our most recent study however, all age groups are now contributing to the overall increase in wireless penetration.”

The last six years have also seen an important shift in how Canadians use their wireless phones. Between 1998 and 2000, between 25% and 30% used their wireless phone as much for business purposes as for personal purposes. Results in 2006 suggest a more polarized use of wireless phones – they are being used either mostly for personal (60%) or mostly for business calls (29%), with the proportion using it evenly for personal and business calls diminishing to 8%.

A part of the study also examined usage of specific phone features among Canadian wireless phone users. Incidence of the most-accessed features include: text messaging (25%); taking pictures (15%); downloading content (15%); push-to-talk service (7%); instant messaging (6%); send or receive e-mail (6%); search information from the Internet (4%); multimedia messaging (3%); listening to music (2%); and downloading music (2%).

Other survey highlights include:

* Wireless phone penetration is not only widening, in other words spreading increasingly to more households, but also getting “deeper” within each household as 57% of households that have access to a wireless phone report having two or more wireless phones.

* Seven-in-ten (70%) respondents personally own their wireless phone, while the remaining obtain access through their employer, self-employment or through someone else in the household.

* With regard to types of wireless devices in the home, nearly all households use cell phones exclusively (91%), whereas 8% have a combination of cell phones and wireless PDAs within the household.

* This year’s results suggest that the average wireless user is more “mature” or experienced compared to six years ago. In 2000, every one in four users had been accessing a wireless service for less than one year compared to only one in ten today.

* Half have used their wireless phone to help them out of an emergency situation.

* In a typical week, Canadian wireless phone users estimate they talk for slightly over one hour (71 minutes) on their wireless phones, a result which increases to 84 minutes among 18 to 34 year olds and drops to 45 minutes among wireless users over 55 years of age.

* About 16% of the households having indicated they do not currently own or have access to a wireless phone are likely to acquire one within the next year.

* Eight in 10 report feeling comfortable with technologies such as wireless communications devices and a similar proportion feels that wireless communications devices are easy to use.

* Slightly over half say that wireless communications are good value for money.
The complete “Usage of Wireless Communications in Canada” study can be found on the CWTA Web site at

The “Work.Live.Play.” wireless industry event continues today and tomorrow at the Hilton Toronto Airport.
Media information and accreditation:
Marc Choma
[email protected]
613-233-4888 ext. 207
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)
CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. It represents cellular, PCS, messaging, mobile radio, fixed wireless and mobile satellite carriers as well as companies that develop and produce products and services for the industry. (

Decima Research
Decima Research is Canada’s fastest-growing full service public opinion and marketing research company, offering research-based advice to clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors, as well as large-scale data collection capabilities. Please visit us on the Web at: