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TORONTO (Reuters) - BCE Inc posted a solid rise in third-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by its wireless customers spending more for service, the Canadian telecommunications company said.
Bell, as the company is known to customers, added 77,655 postpaid wireless customers, who typically spend more than those who prepay for service, it said.
The Montreal-based company said its wireless customers on average spent C$65.34 a month, up 6.1 percent, although it also paid more to court them amid tough competition.
A greater number of wireless customers are free to switch providers this year due to regulatory changes.
Its rival and network-sharing partner Telus added 69,000 such postpaid customers, while wireless market leader Rogers Communications said last month that it added 77,000 in the same period.
Revenue in its fixed-line business declined as its services to business were hit by pricing pressure and reduced customer spending due to slow economic growth.
BCE said it had net income attributable to shareholders of C$739 million ($562 million), or 87 Canadian cents a share, compared to C$600 million, or 77 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose 2.9 percent to C$5.35 billion.
On an adjusted basis that excluded severance, acquisition and other costs, the company earned 93 cents a share.
Analysts had on average expected BCE to earn 85 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$5.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
BCE added almost 58,000 Internet customers and 68,000 customers for its Fibe TV and FibreOP TV services, down from a year ago as its expansion of the products slowed. It lost almost 42,000 satellite customers.
The company said it became the largest TV provider in Canada in the quarter, overtaking Shaw Communications Inc, with more than 2.7 million subscribers.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp