Canadian quadruple-play operator Telus reported consolidated revenue of CAD4.0 billion (USD3.1 billion) for the third quarter of 2020, an increase of 7.7% over the same period a year ago. EBITDA decreased by 3.1% to CAD1.4 billion, reflecting multiple impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, declines in wireline legacy voice and legacy data services and higher employee benefits and other costs including support for business acquisitions. This was partly offset by: growth in wireline data service margins resulting from business acquisitions; expanded services and subscriber base growth; increased organic and inorganic EBITDA contribution from Telus International division business growth; and enhanced cost efficiency programmes. For the quarter, net income of CAD321 million decreased by 27% year-on-year. CAPEX of CAD741 million was down 0.9% y-o-y due to the timing of fibre build activities and efficiencies in 4G network expenditures, partially offset by increased investments in Telus’ 5G network.
Telus added a net 50,000 fixed internet subscribers in the three months to end-September 2020, alongside 19,000 TV customers and 111,000 ‘high-quality mobile phone net additions’. Residential fixed voice line losses of 8,000 improved by 4,000 over the same quarter a year earlier.
At the end of the quarter the Telus ‘PureFibre’ network covered 2.41 million premises, an increase of 270,000 premises y-o-y, while Telus’ 5G mobile network covered ‘over 7.3 million Canadians representing almost 20% of the Canadian population’, the operator reported. The 5G network is available in 24 cities, with Telus aiming to increase coverage to a total of 50 communities by the end of 2020.
Furthermore, Telus announced on Friday it has agreed a CAD1.2 billion acquisition of US-based Lionbridge AI, which it will integrate with Telus International as the latter gears up for a planned IPO. Telus currently owns around two-thirds of Telus International – which describes itself as a digital customer experience (CX) innovator that designs, builds and delivers next-generation solutions for global and disruptive brands – and aims to retain more than 50% equity following an IPO earmarked for Q1 2021. Lionbridge AI is described as a global provider of crowd-based training data and annotation platform solutions used in the development of AI algorithms to power machine learning.