Bell is out with its fourth quarter earnings – and they certainly look good: Bell’s operating review is up 2.6%, to $4.9 billion, in comparison to the same period in the previous year, and BCE reported net earnings attributable to shareholders of $542 million, or $0.64 per share, up the 9.5% reported for Q4 2013. All of which has been driven by a wireless and wireline growth.
Bell’s operating revenue is up 9.6% to $1.9 billion, driven by higher service revenues of $1.4 billion. The higher revenue was fuelled by greater mobile data usage and higher average rate plan pricing — we’ve seen this at Rogers as well, if you recall.
Wireless data revenue is up 26% and now represents about 50% of Bell’s wireless service revenue. As the press release highlights, postpaid gross additions are up 2.6% in Q4 of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, totalling 377,735. Postpaid net additions, however, totalled 117.378, down from 119,520 in Q4 2013. As of January 1, 2015, Bell has a total of 6,986,196 postpaid customers, up 4.6% compared to last year, representing 88% of the total subscriber base.
The total number of wireless customers as of the end of the December quarter is 7,970,702. As more and more Bell customers get smartphones — now 76% of all postpaid subscribers — Bell’s APRU is poised to grow. Thanks to the new Wireless Code implemented by the CRTC in December 2013, it increased 5.5% to $61.12 in Q4 of 2014. In one year, ARPU jumped 4.9%, the Bell announcement highlights.
As of the end of 2014, Bell’s 4G LTE network reaches 86% of the Canadian population, claims the carrier, and is expected to reach 98% by the end of this year.