Bell reported its Q2 2014 results today and wireless revenues jumped 5.5% over the same period last year to $1.5 billion. The growth was attributed to “higher postpaid subscriber mix and strong growth in blended ARPU due to greater data usage and higher average rate plan pricing resulting from the elimination of 3-year contracts.” This is the first time Bell or any other incumbent carrier has remarked that two-year contracts are actually better for their bottom line.
Overall revenue for Bell, which includes wireless, wireline and Bell Media, was up 5.1% from last year to $4.65 billion, with net income rising slightly to $606 million in the quarter.
The total number of postpaid net additions in the quarter was 66,186 compared to 96,390 last year, while prepaid customer continue to diminish, shedding 24,755 customers. Bell now has a wireless subscriber base of 7,804,087 (increased 1.1% in the quarter) — postpaid customers now sitting at 6,777,842 and its accumulated prepaid subscribers are 1,026,245.
Smartphone adoption continues to rise, with the percentage of postpaid smartphone subscribers at 75% (5,083,381), compared to 67% at the end of Q2 2013. Blended ARPU is at $59.49/month, comparable with Rogers and Telus.
Bell has been pushing its Mobile TV offering at every opportunity and its “industry-leading” service now has 1,472,000 subscribers, up 68% during the same time last year. Bell also noted that its LTE network plans to “cover more than 98% of Canadians by the end of 2015.”
George Cope, President and CEO of BCE, said, “Bell’s commitment to deliver the best communications networks, service and content to Canadians everywhere is driving positive momentum across our wireless, wireline and media operations. Rapid expansion of our mobile 4G LTE network, including to hundreds of small towns and rural communities across Canada, is promoting smartphone use and growing Bell’s lead in mobile TV and other data services.”
Finally, Bell assumes that going forward there will be “no material financial, operational and competitive consequences of adverse changes in regulations affecting our wireless business.” In other words, it isn’t cowering in fear of Videotron or Wind obtaining enough spectrum to set the industry alight.