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CRTC: Payphones play an important role but “are no longer used as much”

In its annual “Communications Monitoring Report,” the CRTC revealed that there are now over 28 million wireless subscribers, with 62% of the Canadian population owning at least one smartphone or tablet.

The adoption of a mobile devices, particularly smartphones, has significantly increased in the last five years and is largely driven by our need to be continuously connected to our email, social apps and the internet. The knock on effect of more Canadians accessing a mobile devices on the go is that the need for the one-time dependable payphone has diminished greatly.

A new report issued by the CRTC on the role of payphones in the Canadian communications system states “the use of payphones by Canadians is decreasing steadily.” In 2004, payphone usage by Canadians was at 50% while wireless penetration was at 58.9%.

These numbers are pre-Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and HTC smartphones, when Canadians were loving BlackBerry and Palm. Today, payphone use is dropping drastically with just 32% of Canadians declaring they’ve used a payphone at least in the past year.

The CRTC notes that payphones are still necessary “because of their accessibility, their one-time per-use cost and unlimited time for local and toll-free calls.” As payphone use dwindles, the CRTC is requesting telephone companies to do everything in their power to notify the public before removing payphones.

“Although payphones are no longer used as much as in the past, they continue to play an important role in society and serve the public interest,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “For this reason, we want to make sure that Canadians are notified when certain payphones are removed in their communities, and that they have the opportunity to share their concerns with local authorities. These authorities will be empowered to respond to the needs of their communities.”

A payphone call now costs between $0.50 for a local cash call, and up to a maximum rate of $1.00 for a local non-cash call. In 2013, the number of payphones in Canada was just under 56,000 and these units recorded 41.5 million minutes of talk time.

payphone

[source] CRTC [/source]

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