February 7, 2019 / 12:24 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Canada's BCE profit beats on wireless segment growth

(Compares with estimates, wireless segment results)

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Canadian telecom services provider BCE Inc beat analysts’ profit estimates for the fourth quarter on Thursday, as it benefited from growth in its wireless segment, which includes its high-speed internet services.

Wireless revenue rose 4.6 percent to C$2.25 billion, the company said.

BCE has been ramping up its investments in wireless technology to attract more individual customers as well as corporates. Last October, it partnered with Ford Motor Co’s Canadian division to provide built-in Wi-Fi hotspots in supported Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

However, the company, which is one of Canada’s Big Three telecom firms along with Telus Corp and Rogers Communications Inc, had 121,780 net postpaid wireless subscribers in the quarter, down about 31 percent from a year earlier.

Excluding items, BCE earned 89 Canadian cents per share, beating average analysts’ estimate of 86 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv data.

Montreal-based BCE’s net income attributable to shareholders fell to C$606 million ($457.15 million), or 68 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from C$656 million, or 72 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

BCE, popularly known as Bell, said operating revenue rose about 3 percent to C$6.22 billion.

Rivals Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications Inc also had reported better-than-expected earnings driven by strength in their wireless segments.

$1 = 1.3256 Canadian dollars Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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