(Adds detail on wireless operations, Bell Aliant bid)
TORONTO Aug 7 BCE Inc ,
Canada's largest telecom company, posted a 6 percent increase in
second-quarter profit, driven by higher advertising and
subscriber fee revenue from its acquisition of TV and radio
content producer Astral Media.
BCE, which operates under the Bell brand, added 66,186 net
contract wireless subscribers in the period, compared to 96,390
in the same quarter a year ago, a decline BCE said was due to
the elimination of three-year phone contracts as mandated by a
new wireless code of conduct.
Such post-paid customers are coveted because they sign
multi-year contracts and pay more each month than prepaid
Wireless market leader Rogers Communications said last month
that it added just 38,000 such customers in the same period, but
that its average wireless customer paid more.
Bell's average wireless customer - a blend of contract and
prepaid accounts - paid C$59.49 a month for service, a 4.6
percent increase from a year ago.
Net income attributable to shareholders rose to C$606
million ($554.64 million), or 78 Canadian cents per share, in
the second quarter, from C$571 million, or 74 Canadian cents per
share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, earnings were 82 Canadian cents per
share. Operating revenue rose 4.4 percent to C$5.22
Analysts had on average expected earnings of 84 Canadian
cents a share on revenue of C$5.19 billion, according to Thomson
BCE reaffirmed its earnings outlook for 2014.
BCE, which recently offered to buy the 56 percent of
regional affiliate Bell Aliant it doesn't already own, said it
received approval from a competition watchdog for the bid on
Aug. 5 and it should close by the end of November pending a
majority of minority shareholders tendering their shares.
BCE accounted for Bell Aliant operations in its report.
(1 US dollar = 1.0926 Canadian dollar)
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Ashutosh Pandey in
Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Bernadette Baum)