Following Rogers and Telus, it was Bell’s turn to report its third-quarter earnings: Bell parent company BCE’s operating revenue is up 2.9% to $5.34 billion, driven by strong organic wireless, wireline residential, and media revenue growth.
As for its wireless arm of the business, Bell reported strong financial results for the third quarter of 2015, with operating revenues up 9.3% to $1.7 billion from $1.6 billion reported a year ago. Service revenues increased 8.3% to $1.6 billion, while product revenues are up 22.2% to $143 million.
“The next-generation capabilities of the Fibe network attracted approximately 126,000 net new broadband TV and Internet customers in Q3 – and have now also made Bell the largest TV provider in the country,” said George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE and Bell. “Canada’s largest and fastest LTE network is accelerating smartphone usage and wireless revenue. CraveTV and TV Everywhere GO digital services continue to attract new viewers to Bell Media’s premier content. We’ve launched a massive Gigabit Internet footprint that rivals any in North America and in Q3 were the first company on the continent to roll out the fastest mobile LTE data service available. As we build out the new generation of Bell networks, our team is focused on innovation that delivers for the customer, drives our competitiveness and growth, and ensures Canada’s continued leadership in global communications.”
Postpaid net additions totaled 77,655, which compares to 91,779 last year. As of the end of the third quarter, Bell Wireless postpaid customers totaled 7,284,108, up 4.2% compared to last year, pushing the total wireless subscriber base up 1.8% to 8,183,367.
Of the postpaid subscribers, 78% own a smartphone, up from 75% at the end of Q3 2014, and subscribers using Bell’s LTE network reached 63% at the end of the third quarter, the carrier reported.
As for the most-watched metric in the company’s earnings, blended ARPU (average revenue per user), it increased 6.1% to $65.34 in the third quarter, driven by a higher percentage of customers on two-year contracts and increased data usage on the LTE network.
The press release also highlights that PCMag ranked Bell’s LTE network the fastest nationwide. In August, Bell announced North America’s first rollout of Tri-band LTE-A wireless service, which means download speeds of up to 335 Mbps. Bell’s existing dual-band LTE-A service covers about 44% of the Canadian population, complemented by a national LTE network which currently covers 94%, and the carrier has plans to cover 98% by the end of the year.