* Q4 EPS C$0.70 vs C$0.49 year ago
* Revenue rises 4 pct to C$2.55 billion
* Solid growth in wireless data, internet TV hits stride
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By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Telus (T.TO) said its quarterly profit rose 46 percent, driven largely by strong data and wireless revenue and growth in its landline Internet television service, Optik.
The Vancouver-based telecommunications company said net fourth-quarter income rose to C$227 million ($227 million), or 70 Canadian cents a share, from C$156 million, or 49 Canadian cents, a year ago.
The company, which gets about half its revenue from wireless services, reported a 4 percent rise in overall revenue to C$2.55 billion. It added 119,000 wireless subscribers, a decline that reflects increased competition. But its mobile customers on average paid $58.48 a month, the first year-on-year increase since early in 2007.
Telus’ strong showing in wireless follows a similar report from its rival BCE Inc (BCE.TO) on Thursday. [ID:nN10262604]
The two companies share an upgraded national wireless network that has helped them claw back market share from cable company Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO), the market leader, as they offer more high-end smartphones such as Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone.
But the increase in market share comes at a cost. Telus’ paid C$170 million in device subsidies as customers upgraded.
Analysts on average had expected Telus, which provides phone, Internet and television services, mostly in Western Canada, to earn 72 Canadian cents a share, on revenue of C$2.51 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Telus also added 48,000 subscriptions to its revamped Optik product, which now has 314,000 subscriptions and reaches more than 2.1 million households in British Columbia, Alberta and eastern Quebec.
As is the case throughout the industry, Telus’s revenue from fixed-line operations is sliding as customers shift to mobile devices.
Telus wireless numbers, with postpaid subscriber growth static at 109,000, reflects pressure from companies that have entered the once comfortable sector since a 2008 government spectrum auction in 2008 and from budget brands owned by BCE and Rogers.
Globalive’s low-cost and contract-free Wind Mobile has grabbed more than 250,000 Canadian subscribers since its late 2009 launch. Two other wireless-only entrants, Mobilicity and Public Mobile, also offer unlimited talk and text packages.
The new entrants, excluding Public Mobile, are moving west in earnest but Telus got a reprieve when its main rival, Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) delayed the launch of its own mobile service until early in 2012. (Additional reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay; editing by Janet Guttsman)