Bell has announced its Q4 2016 results and once again the telecom and media company recorded strong revenues in wireless.
Bell’s wireless operating revenue increased 6.4 percent over the same period last year to $1.88 billion CAD. The company directly attributed the results to more postpaid subscribers and higher blended Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) growth. The latter increased to $66.69, which represents an increase of 4.7 percent from Q4 2015.
Postpaid net additions grew 23.1 percent to 112,393 for the quarter, up from 91,308 in Q4 2015. Postpaid subscriber churn increased 0.07 percentage points to 1.45 percent in the quarter.
Bell’s total wireless subscriber growth increased to 8,468,872, representing a 2.7 percent increase over 2015. Postpaid wireless customers represent 7,690,727 of the company’s total subscriber base, with 83 percent owning a smartphone and 81 percent on the telecom’s LTE network.
Bell notes that its 4G LTE coverage now covers 97 percent of the Canadian population, while its LTE-Advanced network now reaches 73 percent of Canadians.
CraveTV, Bell’s streaming video service, had its best month of growth in December since its first two launch months back in December 2014. The upturn in CraveTV subscribers could be attributed to the shutdown of the platform’s main Canadian competitor, Rogers and Shaw-owned Shomi. Bell did not reveal CraveTV subscriber numbers, but did communicate that it will “continued scaling” CraveTV with original content.
The company also warned there will be higher operating costs as it continues to invest in content. The most recent CraveTV original release is the second season of Letterkenny.
Regarding its $3.9 billion acquisition of regional Manitoba-based carrier MTS, CEO George Cope stated the deal is now expected to close by the end of Q1 2017 and is waiting for approvals by the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED).
Cope went on to add, “Our Q4 performance was a strong finish to a year in which the Bell team consistently executed our broadband leadership strategy, delivering value for our customers, communities and shareholders alike. Bell is a company with momentum, rolling out new fibre and wireless networks that rank with the best in the world and the exclusive innovations in communications and media that Canadians clearly want the most.”