Text Messages in Canada Top 4 Billion in 2006

2006 volume almost triples over the previous year

OTTAWA – March 5, 2007 – The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association announced today that mobile phone customers sent more than 4.3 billion person-to-person text messages in 2006, almost triple the 1.5 billion messages sent in 2005. Text message volumes peaked in December 2006 at more than 560 million in that month alone, which represents more than 18 million per day.

In the first North American initiative of its kind, Canada introduced inter-carrier text messaging in 2002. This allowed customers of Canada’s wireless carriers to send SMS (Short Message Service) text messages by simply addressing their message to a recipient’s wireless phone number, regardless of the recipient’s service provider. This was followed less than a year later with the introduction of cross-border inter-carrier text messaging that allowed Canadians to text message with friends and colleagues in the United States. In July 2005, Canada’s wireless service providers introduced inter-carrier multimedia message services (MMS), commonly referred to as picture messaging or video messaging.

“Although text messaging volumes have been doubling year-over-year since 2002, the extraordinary surge in 2006 is directly related to Canadians’ continuing adoption of wireless data services,” said Peter Barnes, President and CEO of CWTA. “Canadians continue to be the world’s second largest consumers of wireless voice minutes at an average of 400 minutes per month. However, non-voice services such as text messaging, e-mail, gaming, ringtones, music and video now account for more than $1 billion in yearly service provider revenue.”

At the end of 2006, Canadian wireless phone subscribers numbered 18.5 million, representing a national wireless penetration rate of approximately 58%. Recent CWTA research estimates wireless penetration in major urban centres has exceeded 70%, with some greater metropolitan areas approaching the 80% mark.

More information about text messaging can be found at www.TXT.ca, Canada’s Text Messaging Resource Centre.

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. Visit the Association’s Web site at www.cwta.ca.

– 30 –

Marc Choma
[email protected]
613-233-4888 ext. 207