BCE has announced revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 of CAD4.6 billion (USD4.3 billion), up 3.9% year-on-year. Main subsidiary Bell Canada posted a 4.8% increase in sales which was slightly offset by a decline in turnover from Bell Aliant (as reported yesterday). EBITDA stayed flat at CAD1.74 billion but operating income grew by 12.8%, reaching CAD751 million, on the back of lower restructuring costs. The launch of HSPA services during the quarter helped drive record fourth quarter gross activations; the company finished the year with more than 6.8 million wireless subscribers, up 5.2% from the end of 2008. Reflecting a busy period for the company, BCE also revealed it added 41,000 subscribers to its satellite TV service, another record for the quarter, to take its total to almost 1.95 million.
BCE also outlined its intention to begin a three-year plan to deploy fibre-to-the-home across Quebec City, and that it would deploy FTTH in all new urban and suburban housing developments in Ontario and Quebec beginning in the second half of 2010, in addition to the fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) deployments already underway. Bell’s FTTB initiative will deliver 60Mbps connections to approximately 1,600 condominiums and apartment buildings in Ontario and Quebec by the end of 2012, while its FTTH service is expected to provide speeds of at least 100Mbps. Additionally, BCE revealed that it will complete its accelerated rollout of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) in Toronto and Montreal this quarter, passing 1.8 million homes with VDSL2; 100% of the FTTN network will be VDSL2 capable by the end of 2010. BCE plans to launch IPTV services over the FTTN network later this year, saying that the service will complement the company’s existing satellite Bell TV product.