Canada’s largest telecoms group, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), has reported that its total revenues grew 1.0% to CAD21.719 billion (USD16.686 billion) in full-year 2016, whilst adjusted EBITDA rose 2.8% to CAD8.788 billion and net income attributable to common shareholders jumped 14.6% to CAD2.894 billion.
Bell’s annual wireless operating revenue increased 4.1% to CAD7.159 billion, with service revenue growing 5.7% to CAD6.602 billion. However, total ‘product revenue’ in 2016 declined 12.7% to CAD515 million, despite a higher number of subscriber gross additions compared to 2015, due to lower average handset pricing reflecting the sustained high level of competitive promotional market activity throughout the year and fewer year-over-year customer upgrades. FY 2016 wireline operating revenue decreased 1.3% to CAD12.104 billion, impacted by downward revisions to wholesale internet tariffs and lower sales of international long-distance minutes, as well as by a year-over-year decline in business customer spending on core connectivity services and data products reflecting slow economic growth and competitive pricing pressures. These negative factors were moderated by the financial performance of Bell’s residential fixed network services, which delivered positive revenue growth in the fourth quarter despite acquisition and retention discounts offered to match competitor promotional bundle offers, and the positive contribution of data centre operator Q9 Networks, which Bell acquired in October 2016.
In Q4 2016 BCE gained 112,393 net new wireless post-paid customers and reported a net loss of 24,470 pre-paid subscribers; 35,905 net new Fibe TV (IPTV) customers and a net loss of 36,869 satellite TV customers; and the addition of 18,402 net new fixed broadband customers. Fixed voice line quarterly net losses totalled 100,630. At the end of 2016 BCE served a total of 8,468,872 wireless customers, up 2.7% from Q4 2015 (including 7,690,727 post-paid customers, an increase of 4.3%); total TV subscribers of 2,744,909, up 0.2% (including 1,337,944 Fibe TV customers, an increase of 13.1%); total fixed broadband subscribers of 3,476,562, up 1.9%; and total fixed voice access lines of 6,257,732, a decrease of 6.4%.