Facts & Figures


World-Leading Wireless Networks

Despite having a population spread across vast regions, Canada’s facilities-based carriers have implemented some of the world’s fastest and most reliable wireless networks, reaching every province and territory. 

  • Canadian wireless subscribers enjoy the fastest average mobile download connection speeds in the G7, including twice the average speed found in the United States (OpenSignal, State of LTE – Global, February 2018)
  • 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 over 83% of Canadians. (CRTC, Communications Monitoring Report, 2017)


Canada’s leadership in wireless is possible only because of the significant investments made by Canadian facilities-based carriers.

  • Canadian operators’ investment in telecommunications as a percentage of revenue is 4th amongst OECD nations and 1st in the G7. (OECD Digital Economy Outlook, October 2017)
  • Canada’s facilities-based wireless carriers invested more than $44.96 billion in communications infrastructure between the years of 1985 and 2016. (Historical data from Nordicity, CRTC, and CWTA)
  • Facilities-based wireless service providers have provided the Canadian government with over $14.1 billion in spectrum auction revenues between the years 1987-2016. (Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), Government of Canada)
  • Canada’s wireless service providers pay annual spectrum licence fees in excess of $185 million each year – nearly two-thirds of the total fees collected by Industry Canada from all spectrum users. (CWTA statistics collected from ISED)
  • In total, these providers have paid nearly $3.3 billion in spectrum license fees between 1987-2016. (CWTA statistics collected from ISED)
  • Based on the annual spectrum licence fees paid in 2016, Canadian service providers pay to government approximately 38 times more per subscriber than their US counterparts. (CWTA statistics collected from the US Federal Communications Commission and ISED)

Canadians increasingly rely on wireless services

Wireless services have become an integral part of Canadians’ lives. Whether to stay in touch with family and friends, consume content, or work while on the move, wireless services have become indispensable for most Canadians.

  • Nearly 31 million Canadians subscribe to wireless services (CRTC, Communications Monitoring Report, 2017) – that’s 87.5% of Canadians based on the 2016 Census of Population.
  • More Canadians have mobile phones (86.1%) than landlines (71.9%), and 27.5% of households rely exclusively on wireless services. (CRTC, Communications Monitoring Report, 2017)

Data Consumption Continues Strong Growth

Canadians consume more wireless data than ever, and the speed and reach of Canada’s leading mobile wireless networks allow them to do this.  Forecasts indicate that this growth will continue for the foreseeable future.

  • The average Canadian smartphone generated 2.27 GB of traffic per month in 2016.  (Cisco Mobile VNI, 2016-2021)
  • Data consumption per Canadian smartphone increased by 35% in 2015-2016. (Cisco, Mobile VNI, 2016-2021)
  • 69% of wireless subscribers have plans that provide 1 GB or more of data usage per month. (CRTC, Communications Monitoring Report, 2017)
  • By 2021, mobile data traffic per device is expected to grow to 8.62 GB per month in Canada. (Cisco, VNI Mobile Forecast Highlights, 2016-2021)
  • The average smartphone in North America generates 7.1 GB of traffic per month when including data over both wireless networks and Wi-Fi. (Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2017)
  • When taking both wireless networks and Wi-Fi into account, the average smartphone in North America will generate approximately 48 GB of traffic per month by the year 2023. (Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2017)

Economic Impact

Canada’s mobile wireless industry has not only transformed the way in which Canadians communicate, work, and play, it also fuels economic growth and innovation.

  • In 2016, Canada’s wireless industry employed more than 138,000 people as a result of its activities. (Nordicity, August 2017)
  • Taking into account direct, indirect and induced impacts, the Canadian wireless industry generated a total contribution of $25.2 billion in GDP to the Canadian economy in 2016. (Nordicity, August 2017)

Industry Reports