Canadians are big-time wireless data consumers: CWTA president

Jim Day
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Bernard Lord, president of the CWTA, spoke with local businessmen in Charlottetown this morning.

When it comes to wireless devices, Canadians are glutinous consumers.

We just love getting data on our devices.

“Canadians are heavy adopters of smartphones and new technology,’’ says Bernard Lord, president of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA).

Lord, the former premier of New Brunswick, highlighted the country’s total absorption of wireless technology during his presentation early this morning to the Greater Charlottetown Area of Commerce.

Lord told the room of local business people that mobile data usage is expected to grow by 900 percent in Canada over the next five years as Canadians remain among the world’s fastest adopters of leading-edge smartphones.

Canada has 28 million wireless customers today, up seven million in just the past five years.

Lord notes while people largely used to use their devices when they were not at home, now about 50 percent of data consumption is done there.

Google informed him that Canadians are the heaviest users of YouTube in the world in terms of downloading and uploading content on the site.

Canadians, he notes, make increasingly diverse use of their wireless devices including accessing their business, providing services to customers, and, of course, to “watch cats dance on toilet bowls.’’

“In Canada, wireless is big business and it’s small business,’’ he says.

“It’s medium business. It’s business in general.’’

Close to 300,000 people in the country are employed by this multi-billion industry.

As for consumers, Lord believes they will continue to enjoy declining rates in the coming years.

He notes prices have dropped by about 20 percent over the last six years and, according to Industry Canada, are actually lower than the fees for comparable service in the United States.

“Consumers will decided how much they are willing to pay for how much they want to consumer and that’s really how it should be,’’ he says.

“What we see in Canada is the unit price continues to go down but Canadians continue to consume more.’’

Lord has been serving since 2008 as president and CEO of CWTA, which 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.

Lord says CWTA provides advice to the federal government on which rules and regulations they should adopt but adds at the end of the day Ottawa makes the decisions.

“The government will set the rules,’’ he says.

“We’ll adapt to those rules and we’ll try to provide the best networks, fastest service, quality devices, so we can meet that 900 percent growth (in consumption) over the next five years.’’

Lord has fostered continued growth of CWTA’s membership and has launched several new initiatives including Recycle My Cell and Wireless AMBER Alerts.

 

 

 

 

Organizations: Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Google, Industry Canada

Geographic location: Canada, New Brunswick, Greater Charlottetown Area United States Ottawa

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