(Reuters) - BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Canada's largest telecommunications company, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by an increase in net postpaid subscribers.
The company, popularly known as Bell, added 35,728 postpaid customers on a net basis in the first quarter, more than the 30,000 additions that analysts at Cannacord Genuity had expected.
BCE's postpaid customers paid C$65.66 a month in the quarter ended March 31, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier.
Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO), against whom BCE competes in wireless as well as for television and internet customers, added 60,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers in the first quarter. The third major national wireless player, Telus Corp (T.TO), is due to report earnings on May 11.
BCE added 22,402 customers in its Fibe TV business and 14,989 customers in its high-speed internet segment but lost 38,065 satellite TV customers during the quarter.
Net income attributable to the company's shareholders fell 4 percent to C$679 million ($500 million), or 78 Canadian cents per share, hurt by costs related to its acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 87 Canadian cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 83 Canadian cents.
Montreal-based BCE'S operating revenue rose 2.2 percent to C$5.38 billion.
Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel