Telus profit misses as it spends more to win wireless customers

Thu Feb 9, 2017 12:40pm EST
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(Reuters) - Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote), one of Canada's three big telecom providers, reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as operating expenses rose and it paid more to win wireless customers.

Telus is spending billions of dollars to expand its wireless and broadband networks as it competes with BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote) and Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) for wireless customers across the country, and with Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO: Quote) for television, internet and phone customers in Western Canada.

Shares of Vancouver-based Telus fell as much as 2.4 percent to C$43.10 in afternoon trading.

The company said it added 87,000 net postpaid wireless customers, 25,000 more than a year ago.

In the same period, market leader Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) added 93,000 wireless customers, and BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote), Telus' network-sharing partner, signed on nearly 112,000.

Telus's wireless customers, on average, including those on contracts and those who pay upfront for cellular service, paid C$66.24 per month, about 4 percent higher than a year earlier.

However, the company's cost of acquiring wireless customers rose about 6 percent to C$500 per gross subscriber addition.

The company's operating expenses rose 11.3 percent to C$3.07 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The company said it added 24,000 internet connections, up 2,000 from a year ago, reflecting an ongoing expansion of its broadband business.   Continued...