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

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.