Nordicity Study Highlights Increasing Importance of Canadian Wireless Sector to the Canadian Economy

GDP Contribution of $27.5 billion for 2017 is an increase of more than 9% from 2016

OTTAWA, Ontario; March 26, 2019 – Canada’s wireless telecommunications sector continues to generate significant and increasing economic benefits to the Canadian economy in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and employment according to a new report by Nordicity.

Commissioned by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the report shows the significant positive economic impact the industry makes when it comes to GDP, jobs and capital investment. The report also shows this impact has grown significantly on a year-over-year basis.

Key Findings:

  • In 2017, Canada’s wireless industry contributed $27.5 billion to the Canadian GDP, an increase of 9.1% from $25.21 billion 2016.

  • The major contributor to this overall GDP increase was the $1.22 billion increase in the contribution of wireless network operators to the GDP.

  • The wireless sector generated 151,550 full-time equivalents (FTE) jobs in 2017, including direct, indirect and induced effects – an increase of 13,500 FTEs or 9.8% from 2016.

  • Canadian facilities-based network operators made capital investments in Canada’s wireless infrastructure totaling $2.92 billion in 2017 – an increase of $0.34 billion or 13.2% from 2016.

“A country’s overall competitiveness is increasingly being determined by its competiveness in the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) sector, of which the wireless sector is a key component,” said Nordicity Partner Stuart Jack. “Our report shows that Canada’s wireless sector contribution to the Canadian GDP continues to increase and is a key growth enabler of the overall Canadian ICT sector.”

“The Nordicity report highlights the critical contribution our industry makes to the Canadian economy,” said Robert Ghiz, President & CEO of CWTA. “The billions of dollars of investments in infrastructure and innovation made each year by Canada’s facilities-based wireless operators help drive the Canadian economy, create thousands of well-paying jobs and play a critical role in enabling key industry sectors to shift to the new digital and data-driven economy. As we seek to expand the reach of our wireless networks and introduce 5G wireless to Canada, the need for continued private sector investment will only increase – as will the need for maintaining a public policy environment that encourages such investment. The growth of Canada’s economy depends on it.”

Additional Key Facts about Canada’s Wireless Industry (supplemental to the Report):

  • Canada’s facilities-based wireless carriers have invested approximately $48 billion in wireless infrastructure between the years of 1987 and 2017. (Historical data from Nordicity, CRTC, CWTA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch).

  • Facilities-based wireless carriers in Canada generate the most capital expenditure per subscriber among the G7 and Australia. (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Global Wireless Matrix, December 2018).

  • Facilities-based wireless service providers have paid to the Canadian government over $14.1 billion in spectrum auction revenues between the years 1987-2016. (Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), Government of Canada)

  • It is estimated that, between 2020 and 2026, $26 billion in capital investment will be required for the initial roll-out of 5G infrastructure in Canada, with most of such investment being made by Canada’s facilities-based wireless operators. (Accenture, Fuel for Innovation, 2018).

  • Canada’s wireless networks are #2 in the world in terms of download speeds; 158% faster than the global average and 95% faster than the U.S.. (Ookla, Speedtest Global Index, February 2019).

  • Long term evolution (LTE) networks, which deliver higher speeds than previous generation networks, are available to 99% of Canadians. LTE-advanced (LTE-A) networks, offering even higher speeds than LTE, are now available to 92% of Canadians, a 9% increase over the previous year. (CRTC, Communications Monitoring Report, 2018)

For a copy of the report, or more information, please see www.cwta.ca.

About CWTA

CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. It represents companies that provide services and products across the wireless sector. Representing the industry before all levels of government and various regulatory agencies, CWTA actively promotes the industry with the goal of ensuring continued growth of the wireless sector in Canada. CWTA administers a number of initiatives on behalf of its members, including corporate social responsibility programs and the national common short codes program.

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Media enquiries:

For CWTA:
Greg Burch
204-250-9244
communications@cwta.ca