Strong demand for wireless service drives BCE profit beat

A sign is pictured outside a Bell Canada retail store in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - Canadian telecom services provider BCE Inc said on Thursday it added more wireless subscribers in the third quarter, helping it beat analysts’ profit estimates.

The company added nearly 135,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier.

Canadian telecom companies have been investing heavily to build 5G wireless network to enhance both speed and coverage, in a move to attract more subscribers and get ahead of competition.

Montreal-based BCE’s net income attributable to shareholders increased to C$814 million ($620.76 million), or 90 Canadian cents per share, in the third quarter, from C$803 million, or 90 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, BCE earned 96 Canadian cents per share, beating the average analysts estimate of 93 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv data.

BCE, popularly known as Bell, said operating revenue rose to C$5.88 billion from C$5.70 billion.

($1 = 1.3113 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Debroop Roy and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel