Canada's Telus just misses on profit as expenses weigh

(Reuters) - Canadian telecom provider Telus Corp's T.TO quarterly profit came in slightly below analysts' estimates on Thursday, as it spent heavily to add wireless subscribers amid stiff competition.

The company, which competes with BCE Inc BCE.TO, Shaw Communications SJRb.TO and Rogers Communication RCIb.TO, said operating expenses surged 8.2 percent to C$2.11 billion ($1.65 billion) in the first quarter.

Vancouver-based Telus added 48,000 wireless postpaid customers in the quarter, about 4,000 more than a year ago. Barclays analyst Phillip Huang expected postpaid additions of 39,000.

Wireless customers on average paid C$66.51 a month on Telus’ network, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. However, its postpaid churn — the amount of defecting customers — rose to 0.95 percent from 0.93 percent.

Telus’s net income fell to C$412 million, or 69 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from C$422 million, or 70 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Telus earned 73 Canadian cents per share, missing analysts’ average estimate by 2 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating revenue rose to C$3.38 billion from C$3.18 billion.

Shaw Communications SJRb.TO last month posted a quarterly profit that easily topped analysts' estimates, boosted by investments in its wireless business which helped more than double subscriber additions.

(Corrects to “Vancouver-based” from “Calgary-based” in paragraph 3)

Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel