Wire­less sub­scribers, data us­age put BCE growth ahead of Rogers

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - ALEKSANDRA SAGAN

MON­TREAL — Two of Canada’s ma­jor telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies re­ported strong wire­less sub­scriber growth in their 2016 fi­nan­cial year, buoyed in part by im­mi­grants pur­chas­ing cell ser­vices and more peo­ple us­ing two smart­phones.

BCE Inc. beat an­a­lyst ex­pec­ta­tions as it added 315,311 net post­paid wire­less sub­scribers in its last fis­cal year, end­ing Dec. 31, 2016, up 19 per cent com­pared to 265,369 in 2015.

In its fourth quar­ter, BCE added 112,393 such cus­tomers, up by 21,085 or 23 per cent over the same quar­ter the pre­vi­ous year.

An­a­lysts ex­pected roughly 99,000 new BCE sub­scribers in the fourth quar­ter, an­a­lyst Drew McReynolds of RBC Do­min­ion Se­cu­ri­ties Inc. wrote in a note.

Cus­tomers also in­creased their wire­less data us­age by 41 per cent, BCE said.

“Ob­vi­ously very, very strong net add re­sults,” pres­i­dent and CEO Ge­orge Cope said in a con­fer­ence call with an­a­lysts.

He at­trib­uted the sub­scriber growth to some cus­tomers leav­ing dis­count providers in favour of BCE, as well as govern­ment poli­cies driv­ing sig­nif­i­cant im­mi­gra­tion and creat­ing a grow­ing mar­ket­place for tele­coms. An in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple us­ing two smart­phones — one for busi­ness and one for per­sonal use — also fac­tored.

BCE out­paced Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in sub­scriber growth. Rogers added 93,000 net post­paid wire­less sub­scribers in its fourth quar­ter, also out­pac­ing an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tions. Telus Corp. re­ports its fourth quar­ter re­sults next week.

BCE in part at­trib­uted its im­proved fourth quar­ter and fis­cal year prof­its to strong wire­less sub­scriber growth and in­creased data us­age.

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