Profile: BCE Inc (BCE.N)
9 Dec 2013
BCE Inc. is a communications company, providing residential, business and wholesale customers with a range of solutions to all their communications needs. During the fiscal year ended March 14, 2012, the Company operates in four segments: Bell Wireline, Bell Wireless, Bell Media and Bell Aliant. Bell Canada (Bell), which encompasses its core operations, is comprised of its Bell Wireline, Bell Wireless and Bell Media segments. Bell Media is Canada’s multimedia company with assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV Inc. (CTV), Canada’s television network based on viewership. Bell was a wireless service provider in Canada to launch a Fourth Generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on September 14, 2011. Its Bell Media segment was created on April 1, 2011, upon completion of BCE’s acquisition of CTV Inc. (CTV), and encompasses all CTV properties and other Bell content assets. In October 2012, the Company along with Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC acquired Canadian data centre operator Q9 Networks. Effective July 5, 2013, BCE Inc acquired the entire interest of Astral Media Inc.
Bell Wireline segment
The Company’s Bell Wireline segment provides local telephone, long distance, data (including Internet access and information and communications technology (ICT) solutions) and other communications services to residential and business customers primarily in the urban areas of Ontario and Quebec. The Company also offers local exchange carrier (CLEC) services in Alberta and British Columbia. The Company sells local telephone and long distance services under the Bell Home Phone brand and Internet access under the Bell Internet brand. It also provides direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television services on a nationwide basis under the Bell TV brand, as well as Bell Fibe TV (its Internet protocol television (IPTV) service) in select areas of Toronto and Montreal, enabling the Company to offer a quadruple-play bundle of communications services.
The Company’s wholesale business, which provides local telephone, long distance, data and other services to resellers and other carriers, and the wireline operations of Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel), which provides telecommunications services in Canada’s northern territories. Its Bell Wireline segment also includes wireline-related product sales from its wholly owned subsidiary, national consumer electronics retailer The Source (Bell) Electronics Inc. (The Source). Other sources of local and access revenues include call management services, such as call display, call waiting and voicemail; services provided to accessing its local network, and connections to and from its local telephone service customers for competing long distance service providers. It offers a variety of Bell Home Phone packages that include unlimited local phone calling with a number of different call management services depending on the package chosen by the customer.
The Company provides domestic and international long distance voice services to residential and business customers. These services include a variety of subscription plans ranging from monthly unlimited provincial or North American calling plans to pay-per-minute plans. It also provides wholesale access service to other carriers and resellers, and receives settlement payments from other carriers for completing their customers’ long distance calls in its territories. It also offers an unlimited world long distance plan to Bell Bundle customers that allows for unlimited long distance calls to more than 70 countries, including within Canada and the United States.
The Company provides high-speed Internet access service under the Bell Internet brand to residential and business customers. At December 31, 2011, it provided high-speed Internet access to approximately 2.1 million customers through digital subscriber line (DSL), fibre-optic or wireless broadband technology. It offers three Internet packages to Bell’s residential customers, marketed as Essential, Essential Plus and Performance, which provide download speeds of up to 500 kilobits per second, two megabits per second and six megabits per second, respectively. It also offers, wireless Internet through its Bell Wireless segment, which provides high-speed Internet access to personal desktop computers, laptops or tablets at speeds of up to 21 megabits per second, using a mobile Internet universal serial bus (USB) stick.
The Company also sells a range of data services to business customers. In addition to Internet access, some of the services it offers include Internet protocol (IP)-based services and ICT solutions. Its IP-based services include IP VPNs, Ethernet, business Internet and VoIP. Bell provides ICT solutions that include professional, managed and infrastructure services. The Company is a digital television provider, broadcasting more than 500 all-digital televisions (TV) and audio channels and a range of domestic and international programming. It distributes its TV services to approximately 2.1 million customers. It also offers hardware, including personal video recorders (PVRs), online access to an array of programming from Bell Media and subscription video-on-demand (VoD) through Bell TV Online, pick-and-pay programming and the HD channels offered by the Company. Equipment and Other category includes revenues from a number of other sources, including renting, selling and maintaining business terminal equipment; TV set-top box (STB) sales; network installation and maintenance services for third parties, and product sales, other than wireless products, at national consumer electronics retailer The Source.
Bell Wireless segment
The Company’s Bell Wireless segment provides integrated digital wireless voice and data services to residential and business customers across Canada. Its wireless services, offered over technologically advanced wireless networks, are available to virtually all of the Canadian population. Bell Wireless includes the results of operations of Bell Mobility Inc. (Bell Mobility), Virgin Mobile Canada (Virgin), wireless product sales from The Source and the wireless operations of Northwestel. Services offered include call display and voicemail, e-mail, Web browsing, social networking, text, picture and video messaging, music downloads, ringtones, games and apps, video streaming, live TV, mobile Internet, and global positioning system (GPS) navigation, as well as roaming services with other wireless service providers. At December 31, 2011, it served more than 7.4 million wireless customers, of whom approximately six million subscribed to postpaid rate plans. It provides wireless communications services under the Bell, Virgin Mobile and Solo Mobile brands.
The Company offers a variety of single-user and shared postpaid rate plans, designed primarily for local and long distance voice service. It provides a range of wireless data services to consumers and business clients, including text and e-mail services, picture and video messaging, Internet browsing, ring tunes, ringtones and screen-savers, social networking, instant messaging, multimedia services such as music downloads, video streaming, live TV, full-length movies and other services, such as GPS navigation and location-based services. Mobile business services include sales force automation and customer relationship management tools, field service automation, and resource and asset tracking tools.
At December 31, 2011, Bell had deployed its 4G LTE network in certain areas of the GTA (including Mississauga), Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Belleville, Yellowknife and Halifax-Dartmouth. In February 2012, the Company expanded its LTE mobile network to seven more urban centers across Canada, including Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, London, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. In addition to its LTE and HSPA+ networks, it operates a national 3G code division multiple access (CDMA) and data optimized (EVDO) network.
Bell Media segment
Bell Media owns 28 conventional television stations, including CTV, Canada’s television network based on viewership, and owns and operates 30 specialty television channels, including TSN, Canada’s specialty channel and RDS, Canada’s French-language specialty channel. Bell Media also owns 33 radio stations, numerous Websites including the Sympatico.ca portal, and Dome Productions Partnership, one of North America’s providers of sports and other event production and broadcast facilities. Bell Media provides its television programming services to broadcast distributors across Canada.
Bell Media also offers a mobile TV service with live and on-demand access to content from its conventional TV networks, CTV and CTV Two, as well as real-time access to BNN, TSN, RDS, MTV and other top brands in news, sports and entertainment. This mobile content is offered on commercial terms to all Canadian wireless providers. Additionally, Bell Media owns and operates 33 FM and AM radio stations, along with their related websites, and runs Canada’s general interest portal, Sympatico.ca.
Bell Aliant segment
The Company’s Bell Aliant segment provides local telephone, long distance, Internet, data, TV, wireless, information technology (IT) services and products, and other ICT services to residential and business customers in Canada’s Atlantic provinces, as well as in rural and regional areas of Ontario and Quebec. Bell Aliant is a regional telecommunications services providers in North America. At December 31, 2011, BCE owned 44.1% of Bell Aliant. On January 1, 2011, Bell Aliant converted from an income fund to a corporate structure.
The Company competes with TELUS Corporation (TELUS), MTS Inc., Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. (Primus), Bragg Communications Inc., Vonage Canada Corp (Vonage), Rogers, Newfoundland and Labrador, Videotron Ltee (Videotron), Cogeco Cable Inc. (Cogeco Cable), Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), and Yak Communications (Canada) Corp., Teleshop Communications Inc. and Caztel Communications Inc., Group of Gold Line, Skype Technologies, Globalive Wireless Management Corp. (Globalive), Data & Audio Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc. (DAVE), Public Mobile Inc. (Public Mobile), Celluworld Inc., Rich Telecom Corporation, Blue Canada Wireless Inc., Novus Wireless Inc. and Netflix Inc.
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