Telus Q4 2015 earnings: wireless revenue continues to grow but net income plummets

Igor Bonifacic

February 11, 2016 9:00am

The last of Canada’s Big Three carriers posted its Q4 2015 earnings today.

Telus earned $3.21 billion in revenue, resulting in a net income of $261 million. Compared to the same time last year, the company’s revenue increased by a modest 2.8 percent, whereas net income dropped a precipitous 16.3 percent.

Much of that drop in net income has to do with the significant amount of money spent to upgrade its wireless and wireline networks. Compared to the same time last year, capital expenditures increased by 14.9 percent to $655 million. As result, however, was able to deploy more of its 700 MHz and 2500 MHz network assets.

That said, the company’s wireless division did relatively well. It was able to increase revenues by $46 million year over year. Much of that growth came thanks to the fact that wireless data revenue grew by almost 10 percent. Moreover, Telus notes that an even greater number of its post-paid customers are now on two year contracts than in previous fiscal quarters, leading to what the company calls a “more favourable post-paid subscriber mix”. Blended ARPU, or average revenue per user, increased by 0.6 percent to $63.74.

Monthly subscriber churn likewise increased to 1.01 percent, a 7 basis point increase from the same time last year. Telus blames a more competitive wireless environment and the weakened nation-wide economy, particularly in Alberta, for the increase. However, even after the increase, Telus still has the lowest churn rate of any of the big three wireless carriers.

Telus added a total of  62,000 wireless subscribers, a number significantly lower than the 118,000 it added during Q4 2014. All told, 8.5-million Canadians now pay to use the company’s wireless network, an increase of 2.1 percent from the same time last year.

“TELUS delivered solid fourth quarter revenue, EBITDA, and subscriber growth in both its wireless and wireline businesses despite economic challenges impacting some of our customers in Alberta,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of Telus, in a statement issued to MobileSyrup. “Our continued strong performance was the result of our unwavering focus on putting customers first and the ongoing execution and success of a winning strategy that focuses on long-term capital investment to drive sustainable growth.”

Moving into 2016, the company is forecasting revenues between $12,750 to $12,875 billion. On the wireless front, Telus expects network revenue to continue to grow by an additional two to three percent to between $6,425 and $6,490 billion over the course of the next year. Telus also expects to continue spending a significant amount to upgrade its network with its year end capital expenditures expected to increase by 3 percent to $2.65 billion.

  • neo905

    I guess this means moar layoffs….

    • thomas nguyen

      more layoffs, and jack up the price of subscription = increase revenues! Corporate thinking 101 for all CEO’s + CFO’s that wants the huge bonuses

    • It’s Me

      Yup. Higher prices first, then layoffs, then more price increases.

    • disqusmy

      Lets see who do it first. Who do you bet this time? 😀

    • cartfan88

      Look at Target in 2015… Bail out of Canada instead of pulling up your pants, acknowledging mistakes and fixing it…what did the market do…reward them with a new all time stock high.

    • Matt

      *More – and also it’s not like Telus didn’t see these numbers already happening, why do you think the Q4 layoff’s happened in the first place?

    • neo905

      Google moar. It is a subtle reference that obviously went over your head about Central Bank monetary policy that has supported Wall Street to the detriment of Main Street by keeping stock prices elevated through various injections of liquidity. I am aware they already cut a bunch of jobs. Maybe next time I will put an /s.

    • Matt

      3+ pages deep on a simple search of the word moar because hey, I like learning new things and I’ve found nothing other than memes of cats, MMO’s and pretty much everything other than banking, next up I tried “Moar + Banking”, “Moar + Wall Street”, and “the use of moar in banking terms” because Google doesn’t have a MBA from Western or anything and still nothing. You probably should put something indicating that you are aware what you are saying is meant to be humor instead of it looking like you are attacking a company that already had to make the hard decision to put people out of work. Getting back to “Moar” can you please provide some evidence of the use of this word in the Business world / stock market as you referenced in your previous post? As I mentioned I like to learn new things and would gladly use that word in the future

    • neo905

      It is the the urban dictionary definition. It is a combo of more and roar. In the context of the Federal Reserve and Central Banks in general it was used since the economy collapsed in 2008 and they preceded to floor interest rates to zero and that wasn’t enough. They gave banks $700 billion bailout. Wall Street needed moar. So they did QE1 (Quantitative easing provides liquidity to the stock market). They needed moar so they did QE2. They needed more so they did QE3. Eventually they will do more by either doing QE4 or going with negative interest rates like Japan recently did.

      Prior to 2008 the Federal Reserve balance sheet was $500 billion. Now it is $5 trillion of mostly gargage.

      The currency system is broken hence the need for moar to keep it going and delay an economic Depression until the economy can grow organically to support where stock prices are. That hasn’t happened yet.

    • neo905

      Also give me a break with pity card you are trying to play here for Telus. They collude on price and are protected from there being true competition in this country by our government’s policies. Direct your sympathy to the people who lost their jobs. They are pawns in the game and the game is rigged in corporations favour.

    • Matt

      we are all pawns in the game that our government is playing, my sympathy is towards those who lost their jobs, it sucks but it it a part of business, at least they got some decent severance packages and are eligible for EI. As far as collision that is not entirely the case. When profits have to be increased sometimes costs have to go up, when one company raises their prices the others will follow suit because they can. Same as when one company puts a subsidy or plan on sale the others follow suit until someone stops the sale

    • neo905

      Our Telecom industry isn’t a free market. They aren’t fending for themselves here. It is an Oligopoly which is bolstered by protectionist policies. They care more about their shareholders than their employees or customers so to stop being a pawn in the game you better be in the investor class and figure out how to navigate in those waters.

      If most people understood this in 2009 they would have gone along for the ride and made once in a lifetime returns in the process and not pull their money out in fear and make zero on a GIC taking account inflation.

  • cartfan88

    Great excuse to levy a $5 network upgrade fee!

    • vn33

      It’s almost like an expected response from Robellus!

  • Ricky Bobby

    Time for another economic hardship price increase. These telecoms are hurting pretty hard on the revenue

  • Crossed

    higher prices incoming, will telus bell and rogers plans come with a lubrication add on?

    • Omis

      For $30 a month you can get them to add lube on the last 10 minutes of a 2 year contract.

    • Crossed

      Sounds fair, we’d be stupid not to.

  • Rybone89

    Someone needs to learn how to proofread. “S12,750 to $12,875 billion” what?

  • Aaron Hoyland

    I’m not trying to defend the pricing practices of any of the Big Three, but a 16.3% drop in net income (profit) in one year is massive. When that happens, shareholders are going to demand proof that action is being taken to ensure that trend doesn’t continue. Fiduciary duty: it’s a consumer’s worst nightmare.

    • Goran Mihajlović

      “We have vastly increased infrastructure spending” good enough ?

    • Brad Fortin

      “net income dropped a precipitous 16.3 percent [to $261 million]”

      “capital expenditures increased by 14.9 percent to $655 million”

      Maybe one has something to do with the other?

  • southerndinner

    “Telus blames a more competitive wireless environment ”

    Uhh how? One of the only competitors to the oligopoly was purchased by one of the big 3, no one new came in to compete

    • gommer strike

      how come Wind/Shaw doesn’t count?

    • Tyrannosaur3464

      Because Wind still has the Wind network. Therefore is entirely useless until its prices increase.

    • gommer strike

      But I thought that’s what people here want. Wind prices with big 3 coverage. So they can’t raise their prices or else Mobilesyrup users will accuse them of becoming a big 4 and looking out for the consumer.

    • Tyrannosaur3464

      Of course it is, but it’s never going to happen. That is beyond wishful thinking.

  • Pigs Can Fly

    Their revenue dropping with increased subscribers? Something’s amiss here.

    • Roger

      Revenue increased while net income deceased. The two are NOT the same.

    • Tyrannosaur3464

      Revenue isn’t dead. It just went down.

  • HelloCDN

    So we have a “more competitive environment in Canada” now, apparently. Ok. So their response to be more competitive is to increase prices on monthly plans? Because that will help them get more customers how?
    It’s also funny how they blame the economic situation yet they are a perfect example of what is wrong with business in this country, aside for being completely dependent on a single natural resource.

  • Tyrannosaur3464

    Everyone cares about good fast data speeds and a good connection. But Nobody wants to be held responsible for paying for the infrastructure. Funny.