Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Bell Canada Reaches 1.8 million DSL. 1.5 Million Satellite Video Customers

Bell Canada reported continued subscriber growth in wireless, video and DSL for Q4 and full year 2004. For the year, the company added nearly one million new subscribers for its digital services. Some highlights:

  • Bell Canada reported 2004 revenue of $19.2 billion, up 2.4% and EBITDA of $7.6 billion, an increase of 2.1% over the full year 2003. For the fourth quarter of 2004, the company reported revenue of $5.0 billion, up 3.5%, and EBITDA of $1.8 billion, down 0.9% when compared to the same period last year.

  • Despite challenges presented by the migration to a new billing platform, Bell Canada's wireless subscriber base grew by 513,000 subscribers in 2004, matching the growth recorded in 2003. The company added 217,000 subscribers in the quarter, exceeding last year's fourth quarter level of net activations by 15%. Wireless churn for the full year was 1.3%, reflecting a 0.1% point improvement compared to full year 2003. Churn for the fourth quarter was 1.4%, unchanged from the same period last year.

  • Bell reached a significant milestone at the end of 2004, signing on its 1.5 millionth video customer. For the full year, 116,000 new video customers were added, an increase of 40% over 2003. Bell added 43,000 new video customers in the fourth quarter, 23% better than the growth achieved in the fourth quarter in 2003.

  • Bell ended the year having signed access agreements with 335 multi- dwelling unit (MDU) buildings for its VDSL service, ahead of its target for the year of 300 buildings. More than half of new VDSL customers are also signing up for Sympatico High Speed service.

  • Bell ended 2004 with 1.8 million DSL customers, an increase of 24% over the previous year. On a full year basis, 350,000 new customers were added slightly less than in 2003. During the fourth quarter, 91,000 new customers were added, slightly above last year.

  • Growth of value added services (VAS) sold to Sympatico DSL customers increased significantly during the full year and the fourth quarter. The year ended with a total of 624,000 subscriptions, more than double year end 2003 and there were 337,000 net VAS additions in the fourth quarter alone. Nearly one out of every four DSL customers takes at least one VAS.

  • Adoption of the Bell "Digital Bundle" (a combination of video, wireless and high-speed Internet services) continued to accelerate through 2004 and in the fourth quarter. For the full year, customers purchased 368,000 new bundles. In the fourth quarter, customers purchased 118,000 new bundles and 49% of these customers added at least one new service.

  • Telesat's Anik F2 satellite began commercial operation and became the world's first satellite to commercialize the Ka band. This frequency band delivers two-way broadband services enabling high-speed satellite service to consumers and businesses in Canada and the United States. Telesat also has two satellites pending launch. The Anik F1-R has been constructed and is now in testing phase with launch planned for this summer and commercial service to begin in the fall. Anik F3 is currently under construction for a planned launch in the latter half of 2006.


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