Canada\'s BCE Financials Boosted by Wireless Performance

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Bell Canada (BCE) has reported a sharp rise in profits as revenues edged slightly higher boosted by wireless sales.

The company posted a rise in revenues of 3.7% to reach C$5.1 billion, while net profits rose by 8.7 percent to C$615 million

Bell Wireless operating revenues increased 4.5% to C$1.47 billion in Q1 2014, driven by a higher postpaid subscriber mix in the wireless customer base and strong growth in blended ARPU attributable to greater data usage. Wireless data revenue increased 17.5%, reflecting higher adoption and usage of smartphones.

Postpaid net additions totalled 33,964 compared to 59,497 last year. This reflected a 6.8% decrease in postpaid gross activations attributable to slower overall market growth as a result of higher rate-plan pricing on new 2-year contracts and fewer major smartphone launches during the quarter.

Prepaid net subscriber losses improved 27.5%, year over year, to 49,642, due to fewer customer deactivations.

Total Bell Wireless customers grew 1.2% to 7.76 million.

Bell\'s landline revenues declined by 1.8 percent to C$2.46 billion, as the customer base declined by 7.1 percent to 5.14 million subscribers.

"Bell begins 2014 with solid first-quarter financial results that underline the operating momentum we have across our growth services, especially in Wireless, residential Wireline and Media," said Siim Vanaselja, Chief Financial Officer of BCE and Bell. "EBITDA growth in Q1 drove strong increases in earnings and free cash flow, supporting our strategic broadband network investments and BCE\'s higher common share dividend rate for 2014."

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