BCE profit slips as wireless growth slows

Thu Aug 6, 2009 10:50am EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - BCE Inc, Canada's biggest telecommunications company, reported a dip in quarterly profit on Thursday as restructuring costs weighed and the pace at which it added new wireless subscribers slowed drastically due to the weak economy.

BCE said it earned C$372 million ($347.7 million) in the second quarter, down from C$392 million in the same period a year earlier.

Earnings per share were unchanged at 45 Canadian cents because of a decline in shares outstanding. The company completed a share buyback in May.

However, the Montreal-based company said results this quarter included restructuring and other costs of 13 Canadian cents a share.

Revenue fell 2.1 percent to C$4.30 billion.

BCE said it added 64,000 new postpaid -- or longer-term -- wireless users in the quarter, down sharply from 111,000 a year earlier, "primarily driven by the soft economy".

Average monthly revenue per postpaid wireless user fell C$3.61 to C$62.58 "due to lower usage, lower roaming revenues, and the migration to lower-rate plans as customers reacted to a weaker economy," the company said.

It said this trend was partly offset by growth in data revenue, which includes services such as wireless e-mail and text messaging.   Continued...