Rogers profit rises thanks to BlackBerry, iPhone

Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:30pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday as subscribers snapped up smartphones like Research In Motion's RIM.TORIMM.O BlackBerry and Apple's AAPL.O iPhone despite the recession.

The results pushed up Rogers shares by more than 4 percent even though the company also reported that additions of postpaid, or longer-term, wireless users fell in the quarter compared with last year.

That decline reflected an unusually high number of additions a year earlier, when the iPhone was first launched in Canada, the company said.

The rapid growth in smartphone subscribers at Rogers over the past year could also come under pressure as rivals BCE Inc BCE.TO and Telus Corp T.TO prepare to sell the iPhone starting next month.

Rogers, owner of Canada's biggest wireless carrier, said third-quarter net income fell to C$485 million ($453.3 million), or 79 Canadian cents a share, from C$495 million, or 78 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings per share rose to 82 Canadian cents from 73 Canadian cents. Analysts on average were expecting 54 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue rose to C$3.04 billion from C$2.98 billion, exceeding analysts' estimates of C$3.03 billion.

"The market just got reminded that superior network assets and handset selection can be a powerful differentiator," National Bank Financial analyst Greg MacDonald wrote in a note to clients.   Continued...

<p>A Rogers Communications Inc. office tower is seen in downtown Montreal, March 6, 2009. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>