Residential Telephone Service Survey

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December 2010  (Previous release)

Wireless cell phones continue to grow in popularity in Canada. More than three-quarters (78%) of Canadian households indicated they had a cell phone in 2010, up from 74% in 2008.

The proportion of households with cell phones was highest in three western provinces, Alberta (87%), Saskatchewan (83%) and British Columbia (82%), and in Ontario (81%). Quebec had the lowest rate of cell phone use at 69% of households.

In addition, more households are abandoning their traditional landline telephones in favour of wireless phones only. In 2010, 13% of households reported they used a cell phone exclusively, up from 8% in 2008.

This was particularly the case for young households. In 2010, 50% of households in the 18-to-34 age bracket were using only cell phones, up from 34% two years earlier. Among all other households, 8% used a cell phone exclusively, up from 5%.

Among households comprised solely of people aged 55 and over, 4% used a cell phone exclusively in 2010.

Among households that used only cell phones in 2010, two-thirds (68%) were renters rather than homeowners.

In contrast, the proportion of households that used only traditional landlines fell from 22% in 2008 to 17% in 2010. About 38% of households comprised solely of people aged 55 and over had only a traditional landline compared with 7% for households comprised of people 54 and under.

The proportion of households that had one or more traditional landlines fell from 83% in 2008 to 67% in 2010. The remaining 33% of households had various non-traditional forms of telephone services, or had no telephone service at all. In 2010, 13% of households in Canada were cell-phone only, while 3.6% were serviced exclusively by cable or voice over internet providers. Approximately 16% had various combinations of phone services which exclude traditional landlines.

The proportion of households without any phone service rose from 0.9% in 2008 to 1.1% in 2010.

Among households comprised solely of people aged 55 and over, 80% had at least one landline in 2010, compared with 56% of households comprised of people aged 54 and under.

Note: The Residential Telephone Service Survey monitors residential phone penetration rates across all provinces in Canada. It surveyed about 19,000 households in December 2010 as a supplement of the Labour Force Survey.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4426.

For more information on related products and services, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; fax: 613-951-4527;, Special Surveys Division.