Following Rogers, Bell released its second quarter earnings today revealing that revenue of its wireless business arm increased 4.6% to $1.6 billion, up from $1.54 billion a year prior. This increase is mainly due to strong postpaid subscriber growth and higher blended ARPU (average revenue per user), a key metric in a carrier’s performance.
“Executing our strategy to lead in broadband network and product innovation, Bell delivered strong new customer additions and leading financial results in Q2, including adjusted EBITDA growth across all of our operating segments. We have positive momentum in broadband TV and Internet, media and especially wireless, with strong revenue, adjusted EBITDA and postpaid subscriber growth that once again surpassed our largest wireless competitor,” said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada. “Also distinguished by improved service results and significant reductions in our operating costs, this outstanding performance by the Bell team in a traditionally slow quarter sets the stage for continued leadership in broadband investment, innovation and growth at Bell going forward.”
As detailed in the press release announcing the earnings, Bell Canada added 69,848 net postpaid subscribers in the past quarter, up 14.4% compared to 61,033 last year. Postpaid subscriber churn increased 0.08 percentage points to 1.15% reflecting fewer customer contract expirations.
By the end of June, Bell had 7,471,069 postpaid customers, up 3.7% compared to last year, pushing Bell’s customer base up 1.9% to a total of 8,280,693. Now postpaid subscribers with smartphones account for 82% of the subscriber base, up from 77% the prior year, with the proportion of LTE users reaching 75%, up from 57% the same period last year.
Blended ARPU for the second quarter is up nearly 3% to $64.32, driven by a larger proportion of 2-year contracts, a higher smartphone subscriber mix, and increased data usage.
As highlighted by Bell, LTE-A wireless network now covers 50% of the Canadian population, providing theoretical data speeds of up to 260 Mbps. Bell plans to reach more than 70% by the end of this year. 4G LTE coverage now reaches 97% of the Canadian population.