Wireless Data Usage Reaches New Heights in Canada

  • RIM’s Jim Balsillie: Canada leads the world in BlackBerry penetration
  • Billion-dollar wireless data sector to triple in size by 2010
  • Text messaging volumes reach 30 million per day

OTTAWA – October 23, 2007 – The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) today announced Canadians are expected to triple their use of wireless data in the next three years, following their rapid embrace of a range of innovative and affordable mobile data services including wireless e-mail, text messaging and Internet access.

Canadian carriers’ leading North American innovations like intercarrier text messaging, mobile satellite radio, unlimited music downloads, wireless e-mail and wireless video calling, have spurred a rapid growth in data usage by Canadians. Approximately 10% of the average Canadian’s monthly cell phone usage is now related to wireless data, according to figures provided by CWTA member companies.

With wireless service providers reporting data growth rates exceeding 50% per quarter, CWTA expects spending to triple to more than $3 billion in the next three years as Canadians increase their demand for non-voice wireless services such as e-mail, social networking, Web browsing, music downloads, mobile television, satellite radio and text, multimedia and instant messaging.

Balsillie: Canadian Wireless a Real Success
One contributor to and beneficiary of fast data growth in Canada has been Research In Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry® smartphones – over 20 million of which have been sold worldwide – and a CWTA member company.

“Canada was the birthplace of the BlackBerry platform and Canada continues to generate the highest per capita penetration of BlackBerry smartphones in the world today,” said Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM.

“We are fortunate to be located in a country with a thriving wireless industry that continues to offer businesspeople and consumers world-class wireless data services. RIM works with hundreds of carriers internationally and I am proud to say that the Canadian carriers and our collective success are well respected within the worldwide industry.”

E-mail, Web Browsing and Beyond
While Canadians continue to be among the world’s top users of wireless voice services, at an average of 400 minutes per month, they are also rapidly increasing their consumption of wireless data services at both the consumer and enterprise level. Whether it’s sharing music, photos and videos with friends and families, mapping meetings and jobsites on the go with GPS, or connecting to corporate Intranets via wireless PC cards in their laptops, Canadians have been quick to utilize the vast array of Third Generation, or 3G, products and services available on the country’s national high speed wireless networks.

Canadian wireless carriers offer a range of unlimited Internet access and text messaging plans that have helped spur the fast growth of such wireless data services.

Text Messaging Booming
CWTA also reports that text messaging volumes continue to soar in Canada since inter-carrier text messaging service, a North American first, was launched in the spring of 2002. Text messaging usage has more than doubled each year since the introduction of the inter-carrier service.

“Canadians are now sending approximately 30 million text messages per day,” said Peter Barnes, CWTA President & CEO. “Preliminary numbers for the first nine months of 2007 total almost 7 billion, compared to the 4.3 billion in all of 2006.”

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

For more information, contact:
Marc Choma
613-233-4888 ext. 207
[email protected]

This news release contains forward-looking statements which represent CWTA’s best judgment as to what may occur in the future. However, actual outcome and results are not guaranteed and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and may differ from what is expressed.