Canadians more mobile than ever

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TORONTO -- More than 60% of Canadians now have their own cell phones, with penetration at nearly 80% in major markets, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Assn. reported Wednesday.

The industry association said that 19.3 million Canadians owned a wireless phone as of Sept. 30, after domestic cable and telecom giants added in all 523,000 new subscribers.

Canadians use an average 400 minutes of cell phone time each month, the CWTA said in its latest survey, and they are purchasing wireless data services in record numbers, including text messaging, e-mail and multimedia entertainment content.

The industry report follows the end of the earnings season for Canadian cable giants Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Cogeco Cable, in which each reported profit and dividend hikes on the strength of new wireless and digital phone offerings.

Toronto-based Rogers, Canada's largest cell phone and cable provider, has outshone rival phone giants Telus Corp. and Bell Canada on their own turf in the wireless phone market by adopting GSM, or global system for mobile communications technology.

The CWTA report said that Canada's national wireless penetration rate has exceeded 60% overall and 70% in major urban centers.

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