Bell has launched into its 2018 fiscal year with promising news for shareholders.
The national telecom giant reported wireless postpaid net additions increased 91.4 percent over the same time last year to 68,487, the company’s best first quarter performance since 2011.
Bell stated this growth was driven by 17.1 percent higher gross additions of 347,319, a reflection of a number of factors including network, onboarding customers from a long-term contract with Shared Services Canada and Bell MTS’ continued contributions.
The company also reported that it had improved customer churn — the amount of customers cut ties with Bell during Q1 — lowering 0.04 percentage points to 1.13 percent.
Bell’s new Lucky Mobile prepaid brand contributed to the prepaid side of the business, bringing in 57,471 gross additions in the first quarter, a 10.9 percent improvement over Bell’s prepaid performance last year. Bell reports there was also a 31.3 percent decrease in net prepaid customer losses, though the number is still substantial at 24,110.
In total, Bell now stands at 9,195,048 wireless customers, a 2.8 percent increase over Q1 2017. 8,471,021 of those subscriptions are postpaid.
Bell’s wireless revenue for Q1 2018 was $1.946 million, a 10.1 percent increase over Q1 2017.
Bell cites a larger postpaid subscriber base and the financial contribution from Bell MTS as the drivers.
It notes, however, that its service revenue was impacted by a retroactive regulatory charge — lower final rates set by Canada’s telecom regulator for wholesale domestic roaming.
Excluding that charge, wireless service revenue growth would have been 7.1 percent rather than 6.1 percent.
Blended average billing per user increased 1.4 percent to $66.56. Bell stated this was driven by higher postpaid subscriber mix, more customers moving to higher value monthly plans with larger data allotments, increased roaming revenue and the flow-through of price changes.
While Bell saw strong wireless growth, it also grew in wireline. Revenue for wired services was up 3.6 percent, which the carrier put down to continued Fibe customer growth and improved business markets performance.
“Network leadership continues to drive Bell’s progress in broadband customer additions, service usage and revenue growth as we welcomed approximately 102,000 net new postpaid wireless, internet and IPTV customers in the first quarter of 2018,” said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada in a statement.