Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (TSE: BCE) released its financial results Thursday for 2009, with revenues nearly unchanged from 2008 and a slight drop in operating income from wireless services.
In 2009, BCE reported net earnings of $1.738 billion, up 84 per cent from $943 million in 2008. Revenues for 2009 were $17.735 billion, up 0.4 per cent from $17.661 billion in 2008.
The financial results were released the same day Bell Canada announced its Fibe Internet service, which boasts download speeds of up to 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), is available in Montreal and the greater Toronto area. Fibe Internet is not fibre to the home, but uses the second generation of Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL2) “enhancements” to its fibre to the node network.
But the carrier has promised to deliver fibre to the home to all new urban housing developments in Ontario and Quebec during the second half of 2010.
Bell also overlaid its cellular wireless network, based on the Code Division Multiple access protocol, with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) last year, meaning it can now offer both CDMA handsets and the same devices as Rogers Communications Inc.
“Our strategic commitment to invest in broadband networks and services continues, with both our new HSPA network introduction on the wireless side and the significant investments in new fibre rollouts announced today that we are undertaking to support high-speed Bell Internet and Bell TV,” BCE CEO George Cope stated in a company press release.
Wireless revenues increased five per cent in 2009, to $1.198 billion, from $1.133 in 2008. But operating income for the wireless side was $226 million, down from $280 million in 2008.
Gross activations of wireless accounts in 2009 came in at 163,000, up from 117,000 in 2008. But average revenue per user dropped, from $54.22 in 2008 to $51.08 in 2009. The ARPU for postpaid wireless subscribers was $65.69 in 2008 but dropped to $62.47 in 2009.
Bell said its fibre to the building rollout to apartments and condos will give 60 Mbps service in Ontario and Quebec by the end of 2012.