For the first time since the pandemic began, Bell’s financial results surpassed levels it saw pre-COVID, according to its Q1 2022 results.
Financial results in their wireless business played a significant role. Revenue from services grew 8.7 percent year-over-year, thanks partly to customers subscribing to mobile phone and other device services and higher roaming revenue from the increase in travel. This is the company’s best quarterly organic service revenue growth in 11 years.
It’s important to note Bell increased the costs of several of its mobile services over the last quarter. Bell increased its 45GB $90 a month plan to $95 and will be hiking the cost of its international roaming plan come May 12.
The company added 32,176 new mobile phone subscribers, increasing the 2,405 reported in Q1 2021.
Its monthly subscribers increased by 34,230, offset by its prepaid mobile customer base, which decreased by 2,054 subscribers this quarter. Despite the loss, Bell is reporting the decrease is lower than the loss of 30,000 prepaid subscribers reported in Q1 2021. It credits the improvement to increased activity and a lower churn rate, which describes the number of customers who stopped subscribing to a specific service over the last quarter.
These figures brought Bell’s total mobile phone customer base to 9.49 million at the end of Q1 2022, a 3.5 percent increase year-over-year. Roughly 8.6 million of these customers subscribe to Bell’s monthly services, and 827,000 are prepaid customers.
The company did not have similar success with the sale of its products. Product revenue decreased by 3.8 percent this quarter compared to last. Bell contributed this to “lower year-over-year sales transaction volumes.”
The company’s service revenue in this sector decreased by 0.8 percent, continuing the downward trend of people moving away from legacy voice and satellite TV services. Product revenue also decreased by 28.6 percent due to reduced spending.
Bell offset the service decreases with new internet and IPTV subscribers. Bell increased its internet subscribers by nearly 23 percent. The company has 3.9 million internet subscribers at the end of the quarter, a six percent increase year-over-year. Almost 70,000 of these subscribers came from Bell taking over EBOX and related companies.
IPTV subscribers also increased by 12,000.
The company also introduced a 3Gbps internet service, making its pure fibre internet service three times faster than speeds available through cable. Released in April, the service is only available in parts of Toronto. Bell promised to expand the service but no details explaining their plans are available at this time.
Bell is also expanding its internet services to 87,000 homes in the Ontario municipalities of Amherstburg, Georgina, Guelph, and Pickering.