Canada's BCE profit beats on wireless, shares gain

Thu Aug 4, 2016 10:32am EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - BCE Inc, Canada's largest telecommunications company, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as it added more wireless subscribers who also paid more for service, while its internet and television growth slowed.

Shares rose 0.7 percent to C$62.25 in early trading.

"Wireless was strong, wireline was somewhat weak," said Maher Yaghi, an analyst at Desjardins, pointing to pressure from business accounts that cut into fixed-line revenue. "The ship is definitely moving in the right direction."

Bell, as the company is known to customers, competes for wireless market share with national rivals Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp and smaller regional players.

The company added a net 69,848 postpaid wireless customers in the second quarter, up from 61,033 a year earlier.

Rogers said two weeks ago that it added 65,000 such customers in the same period. Telus reports results on Friday.

Bell's fixed-line business weighed as it signed up fewer new television customers than expected, partly due to competitive pressure and economic headwinds.

The Montreal-based company, which is rolling out a major upgrade to its fixed-line network, said it decided not to match aggressive fixed-line promotions in Toronto, Canada's largest city.   Continued...