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Rogers Q4 2013: Smartphone Users Account for 75% of Postpaid Subscriber Base

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Rogers has released its fourth quarter earnings, reporting a 4% drop in wireless revenue, from $1,92 billion a year ago to $1,85 billion, which Canada’s No. 1 carrier attributes to the introduction of lower-price roaming plans and pricing changes due to its simplified plans.

This is the first time Rogers’ new CEO, Guy Laurence, has spoken to customers, shareholders, and employees in a company statement, but as he points out, he sees a unique opportunity to grow the company for the benefit of all.

“While I’ve only been on the job a short while I believe we have a unique opportunity to move the business forward in ways that will be very rewarding for our customers, our shareholders and our employees,” said Guy Laurence, President & Chief Executive Officer. “The foundation of the company is strong and we continue to generate healthy margins and cash flow, but our rate of growth has slowed. Currently, I’m criss-crossing the country listening to all of our key stakeholders to hear their feedback and to develop a detailed plan that will build on our legacy and grow shareholder value for many years to come. I know we can do better and this is a key focus for me and the management team.”

As the fourth quarter report highlights, the vast majority of Rogers’ postpaid subscribers, 75%, are using a smartphone. Also, customers upgraded 790,000 smartphones during the past three months, of which 29% were new subscribers.

This has obviously pushed data revenue up compared to the same period a year ago. With 13% growth posted in the fourth quarter of 2013, wireless data revenue represented about 49% of the total network revenue, compared to 42% in the same period last year.

The carrier added 357,000 new postpaid customers, 8% lower than the same period a year ago, due to the industry transition from three-year to two-year plans, which slowed overall wireless subscriber growth during the second half of 2013.

The changes implemented during the past two quarters have pushed the average revenue per user (ARPU) down 3.41% to $66.34 from $69.75 a year ago.

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