Quadruple-play operator Bell Canada’s total revenues grew 2.6% year-on-year to CAD4.940 billion (USD3.946 billion) in Q4 2014 on 2.2% higher service revenues, reflecting a strong increase in wireless (Bell Mobility) turnover and positive overall fixed network division growth. Product revenues grew 6.8% over Q4 2013, reflecting more wireless device upgrades and increased business data equipment sales, while quarterly Bell Media revenues declined 3.9% y-o-y. Adjusted EBITDA in Q4 was up 2.2% to CAD1.730 billion, driven by increases of 10.6% in wireless and 2.0% in wireline operations, moderated by a 16.5% decline at Bell Media, due to higher costs for sports TV rights and content investments for Bell’s new ‘CraveTV’ on-demand video streaming service. Bell’s consolidated EBITDA margin in Q4 2014 was 35.0% compared to 35.2% in Q4 2013.
For full-year 2014 Bell Canada’s operating revenues and EBITDA were up 3.5% and 3.7%, respectively, to CAD18.734 billion and CAD7.066 billion, driven by the increased contribution of wireless, TV, internet and media. Total revenues generated by these four service areas grew by CAD814 million, or 5.5%, in 2014. Bell Canada’s CAPEX for the year increased by 4.7% to CAD3.142 billion, supporting the continued deployment of broadband fibre to homes and businesses to expand its IPTV footprint and enable faster internet speeds; the continuing rollout of 4G LTE mobile service in markets across Canada; higher spending on network capacity to support increasing internet bandwidth usage and mobile data consumption; and enhancements to customer service delivery systems.
In FY 2014 Bell’s wireless revenues increased 6.7% to CAD6.241 billion underpinned by annual service revenues growing 6.4% to CAD5.705 billion and product revenues up 11.8% to CAD483 million, while adjusted wireless EBITDA grew 9.6% to CAD2.564 billion in the year. Total Bell mobile customers grew 2.5% to 7,970,702, and post-paid customers represented 88% of this total at the end of 2014, compared to 86% one year earlier. Including sister company Bell Aliant, total wireless customers grew 2.4% in 2014 to 8,118,628. Blended ARPU increased 5.5% to CAD61.12 in Q4 2014, representing the 20th consecutive quarter of year-on-year improvement. Growth was driven by accelerating data usage on Bell’s expanding 4G LTE network (reaching 86% of the population) as the proportion of smartphone users continued to increase, and the favourable impact of two-year contract pricing introduced in 2013 following implementation of the federal Wireless Code of Conduct.
Bell Canada reported 2,287,489 fixed broadband internet customers at the end of 2014, a 4.7% increase over 2013. Including Bell Aliant, the Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) group had 3,297,026 fixed broadband subscribers at that date, up 5.1% y-o-y. Wireline data revenues were up 4.0% to CAD1.573 billion in Q4 2014, the result of combined internet and TV service revenue growth of 5.1%, and growth in IP broadband connectivity and business service solutions of approximately 3% and 10%, respectively. The Bell ‘Fibe TV’ IPTV footprint reached more than five million households at the end of 2014, compared to approximately 4.3 million at the end of 2013. Including Bell Aliant’s ‘FibreOP’ service area, BCE’s total IPTV footprint now covers six million homes, up from 5.1 million at end-2013.