Bell expected to report ‘mixed’ Q1 results, pull 2020 outlook: analyst

According to Scotiabank’s analysis, Bell is predicted to report mixed Q1 2020 results and remove its outlook for the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank’s telecom analyst Jeff Fan notes Bell will likely use its FCF (free cash flow) and subsidies savings to continue investing in networks, including fibre and wireless to the home.

This comes as Bell recently announced plans to accelerate wireless home internet deployment to reach 137,000 more homes than originally planned by the end of April.

Bell has previously stated that wireless home internet usage has increased by 40 percent over the last month, and says that the crisis has underscored the value of the service to customers in smaller communities.

“In wireless, we refined the quarterly timing of our service revenue estimates for roaming and data overage, increasing our Q2 estimate but reducing our Q4 estimates as we expect these revenues will be slow to return,” Fan notes.

As for Q1 2020 itself, Bell is expected to report 28,000 postpaid wireless net additions, along with a loss of 10,000 prepaid net additions.

Postpaid churn rate will be around 0.98 percent, which is a decrease from the 1.07 percent reported in Q1 2019. Churn rate is the percentage of subscribers who discontinue their subscriptions in a month.

Bell’s blended ARPU (average revenue per unit) is predicted to be around $65.19, which represents a decline from the $67.35 recorded in the same period a year ago. The report indicates the carrier’s blended ABPU (average billing per unit) will be $52.27, depicting a 5.2 percent decrease from the $55.17 reported in Q1 2019.

The Montreal-based national carrier is scheduled to report its Q1 2020 results on May 7th, the same day as Vancouver-based Telus.

Rogers, the remainder of the Big Three, revealed its Q1 2020 results on April 22nd, and reported a decrease in postpaid gross additions and revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.