Bell Canada revenues down 1.5%, EBITDA up 3%

7 Aug 2009

Fixed line, broadband and wireless provider Bell Canada has reported that its operating revenues fell by 1.5% year-on-year to CAD3.63 billion (USD3.38 billion) in the three months ended 30 June 2009, whilst operating income dropped by 8.5% to CAD628 million, although EBITDA climbed 3.0% to CAD1.45 billion. At Bell’s Wireless division (Bell Mobility), post-paid net activations in the second quarter were 64,000, down from 111,000 a year before due to lower post-paid gross activations and higher churn primarily driven by the soft economy. The pre-paid client base decreased by 19,000 compared to a decrease of 28,000 a year previously as higher pre-paid gross activations were partly offset by higher churn. Total net wireless activations were 45,000 in 2Q09, 45.8% fewer than April-June 2008, and Bell reached mid-year with a total mobile client base of 6.572 million. The group’s Wireline segment had its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in residential local line losses, which declined by 100,000 in the quarter under review, or 20.0% fewer than the decline of 125,000 in Q2 2008. Business fixed lines fell by 32,000 in the three months compared to a drop of 17,000 last year, reflecting the continued ‘softening’ of the SME market, according to Bell’s statement. Wireline operating revenues decreased by 2.0% as more cautious business investment adversely affected revenue performance, and the division’s operating income decreased by 21.6%, whilst EBITDA increased by 1.7%.

Bell is partnering nationwide wireless rival Telus to roll out a national W-CDMA/HSPA mobile network, and has confirmed that it aims to launch the new 3G service in time for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, which begin on 12 February 2010. 2Q09 wireless data revenue was the strongest ever for Bell, jumping 28% quarter-on-quarter to account for 17% of overall average revenue per user (ARPU), and the company said it was ‘looking forward to the launch of HSPA accelerating that data growth’ further.