May 9, 2008 / 12:34 PM / in 10 years

Manitoba Telecom profit gets wireless lift

TORONTO (Reuters) - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc MBT.TO, reported a slightly higher first-quarter profit on Friday, while growth in its wireless and communications services boosted revenue.

MTS said it earned C$54.2 million ($53.8 million), or 83 Canadian cents per share, in the three months ended March 31, up from a profit of C$52.9 million, or 80 Canadian cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Earnings were lifted by lower debt charges and amortization expenses, and a smaller share count, the company said.

Revenue grew 2.4 percent to C$478.8 million.

Sales for services including wireless, Internet and digital television surged nearly 18 percent to C$204.9 million. Legacy services revenue fell 6.7 percent to C$273.9 million.

Data service revenue jumped nearly 8 percent to C$173.9 million and wireless service sales grew 11 percent to C$68.1 million.

The average revenue per wireless subscriber fell 1.1 percent to C$54.76. The cellular customer base grew by nearly 11 percent to 399,850 as of March. 31.

Long-distance revenue dropped nearly 8 percent to C$85.2 million and local phone revenue dipped 1 percent to C$131.2 million.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Susan Taylor and Leah Schnurr; editing by Janet Guttsman

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