Bell Canada's broadband and IPTV service gains offset Q1 wireline voice losses

Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE), one of Bell Canada Enterprise's (BCE) subsidiaries, may be seeing the effects of wireless substitution and cable competition eating into its wireline revenue, but broadband service and IPTV gains is helping to ease the service provider's wireline pain.

The Canadian operator reported that wireline revenue was CAD2.57 million (USD2.6 million) in the quarter, down 3.5 percent from Q1 2011, while EBITDA decreased 3.9 percent to CAD1.0 million (USD1.01 million) due to obvious declines in its traditional legacy voice and data service segments.

From an overall financial perspective, the Canadian operator reported Q1 net earnings of CAD574 million (USD577 million), up 14.1 percent from CAD503 million (USD506 million) in Q1 2011.  

In addition to increasing its focus on managing wireline costs, the service provider saw gains with its Bell Fibe IPTV service and a continued rise in its Internet service subscriber base.

During the quarter, it added 33,443 net Fibe TV new subscribers, ending the quarter with 120,000 total subscribers. It attributed the addition of new Fibe customers also led to stronger Internet acquisition with 12,393 new Internet customers in the quarter. As of the end of Q1 2012, Bell that it and its subsidiary Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) had a combined total of three million Internet subscribers

To capitalize on the growing momentum for its Fiber to the X-based Fibe IPTV and broadband service, Bell Canada plans to hire about 300 more technicians to support its roll out efforts in Quebec City. As part of the Fibe plan, eligible customers will be able to access a 175 Mbps symmetric speed tier.

To date, its Fibe service is available in Québec City downtown, Beauport, Cap Rouge, Charlesbourg, Loretteville and St-Augustin. By the end of 2012, Bell plans to extend Fibe service to Lévis, Charny, St-Nicolas and St-Romuald.

Bell Canada's shares were trading at $40.47, down $0.32, or 0.78 percent on the Nasdaq in late morning trading Friday.

For more:
- see the earnings release
- see the Fibe expansion release
- Reuters has this article

Special Report: Wireline in the first quarter of 2012

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