Bell Canada’s revenues climb 5.2%, 2.6% in Q4, full-year

7 Feb 2014

Bell Canada’s quarterly revenues increased by 5.2% year-on-year to CAD4.813 billion (USD4.347 billion) across its mobile, fixed and media operations in Q4 2013, driven by steady mobile growth, strong TV and internet expansion which offset declines in traditional wireline voice services, and the contribution of major broadcasting acquisition Astral to Bell Media results after it became consolidated on 5 July 2013. Bell Canada’s EBITDA was CAD1.693 billion in the three months to 31 December 2013, up 7.0% year-on-year, reflecting EBITDA growth of 10.4% at the mobile division and 33.7% at Bell Media, while the company noted that it also generated positive EBITDA growth of 0.3% at its fixed network division in Q4.

In full-year 2013 Bell Canada’s total revenues and EBITDA rose by 2.6% and 3.4%, respectively, to CAD18.109 billion and CAD6.817 billion. Bell invested CAD992 million in Q4 2013, bringing total CAPEX to CAD3.001 billion in FY13, an increase of 2.7% over 2012, driven by deployment of fibre to homes, neighbourhoods and businesses in Quebec and Ontario, the ongoing rollout of 4G LTE mobile services across Canada, higher spending on network capacity to support increasing internet and mobile data consumption, enhancements to customer service systems and the addition of new Bell and The Source stores nationwide.

Bell’s mobile revenues increased 3.2% year-on-year to CAD1.505 billion in Q4 2013, with service revenue up 3.7% to CAD1.359 billion and EBITDA up 10.4% to CAD529 million in the quarter, reflecting post-paid smartphone subscription uptake and blended ARPU growth from higher data revenue. Wireless data revenue increased 15.2% y-o-y in Q4 on higher customer usage driven by greater adoption of smartphones and increased data consumption on the LTE network. In the full year, total mobile revenues increased 4.7% to CAD5.849 billion on post-paid service revenue growth of 6.7% and data revenue growth of 19.4%. FY13 mobile EBITDA grew 10.6% to CAD2.340 billion. Smartphone users represented 73% of total post-paid subscribers at the end of 2013, compared to 62% a year earlier. Post-paid mobile customers totalled 6,677,692 at the end of the year, an annual increase of 3.9%, while total mobile customers grew 1.3% to 7,778,334.

Bell’s fixed network division revenues decreased by 1.2% in FY2013 to CAD10.097 billion, while operating costs were stable compared to 2012, resulting in a 3.2% decline in EBITDA to CAD3.794 billion. ‘Bell Fibe TV’ added 60,301 net new IPTV customers in Q4 2013, a take-up rate which was up 25.0% compared to 48,234 in 4Q12, and the total subscriber base reached 479,430 at end-December 2013, nearly double the 248,298 subscribers reported at the end of 2012. Bell’s high speed internet net customer additions reached 15,690 in Q4 2013, higher than the 7,269 customers added in 4Q12, reflecting take-up of Fibe TV service bundles and fibre network expansion which contributed to lower residential customer churn. Bell had 2,184,543 high speed internet customers at the end of 2013, a 2.7% increase over 2012. In Q4 2013 Bell also recorded a 41,000 year-over-year improvement in total residential wireline voice net customer losses.