Residential Telephone Service Survey, 2013

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More than one in five households in Canada have cell phones as their only form of telephone service. In 2013, 21% of households reported using a cell phone exclusively, up from 13% in 2010.

Exclusive cell phone use is more pronounced in young households where all of the members are under 35 years of age. In 2013, 60% of these households reported using a cell phone exclusively, up from 39% in 2010 and 26% in 2008. Although exclusive cell phone use is less common in households composed only of those aged 55 and over, it is on the rise, up from 2% in 2008 to 6% in 2013.

Chart 1 
Percentage of households that use a cell phone only
Bar clustered chart – Chart 1: Percentage of households that use a cell phone only

Chart description: Percentage of households that use a cell phone only

CSV version of chart 1

Total cell phone use, whether used exclusively or in combination with other types of phone service, continues to grow in popularity in Canada. In 2013, 83% of Canadian households had an active cell phone, up from 78% in 2010.

Differences in total cell phone use were observed across provinces. The proportion of households with an active cell phone was highest in Alberta (91%), Saskatchewan (86%), British Columbia (85%) and Ontario (85%). In each of the Atlantic provinces, the proportion of households with an active cell phone was 80%. The proportion was lowest in Quebec, at 76%.

The share of households with a traditional landline fell from 66% in 2010 to 56% in 2013. In Quebec (43%), the percentage of households with a landline was lower than in any other province, while the proportion using telephone service by cable modem (37%) was almost twice the overall Canadian rate (19%).

Telephone service from Internet providers (voice over Internet Protocol) was still relatively rare in 2013, with 3% of households reporting its use.

Note to readers

The Residential Telephone Service Survey measures residential phone use rates across all provinces in Canada. It surveyed about 19,000 households in December 2013 as a supplement of the Labour Force Survey.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number4426.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).