BCE outshines Rogers with wireless, Internet-TV strength

Thu Feb 5, 2015 3:02pm EST
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By Susan Taylor

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's big telecom companies want as many high-paying customers as they can get, but some are clearly doing a better job at it than others.

Montreal-based BCE (BCE.TO: Quote), which operates under the Bell brand, made big gains against wireless market leader Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO: Quote) in the last three months of 2014, while also winning more landline customers with its Internet television offering, Fibe.

Bell, Canada's largest telecommunications company, added 117,378 postpaid wireless customers, who typically spend more than those who pre-pay for service, it said on Thursday.

Rogers lost 58,000 such customers, it said late last month. The third of Canada's dominant wireless operators, Telus Corp, is due to report next Thursday.

Bell also extended its lead over Rogers in landline Internet connections, adding 34,000 while Rogers shed 4,000.

Bell added 76,000 customers to Fibe, whose signal travels over the same optic cables that deliver Bell's online connectivity. Fibe is helping Bell retain customers who bundle products, Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi said.

Both Bell and Rogers say they are focused on selling more services to their highest-paying customers while shying away from discounts that may win over more price-conscious users.

An average Bell wireless customer, blending post-paid and pre-paid, was billed C$61.12 a month in the fourth quarter, a 5.5 percent increase from a year ago.   Continued...