Canadian telecoms group BCE, parent of Bell Canada and Bell Aliant, posted an 8.7% year-on-year improvement in net income in the first quarter of 2014, with profits reaching CAD615 million (USD561 million), up from CAD566 million in the same period of last year, attributed largely to consistent growth at the group’s wireless (Bell Mobility) division as well as the benefits of integrating the previously acquired Astral Media into its results. Total group revenues increased by 3.7% year-on-year to CAD5.099 billion in the three months ended 31 March 2014. Bell Aliant revenues fell by 1.2% y-o-y to CAD676 million in 1Q14 mainly due to the continued decline in traditional fixed line voice revenue. Post-quarter, BCE noted that following its win of 700MHz band spectrum licences, on 2 April 2014 Bell Mobility launched Canada’s first 700MHz LTE mobile services, initially covering Hamilton, employing lower C-block spectrum that ‘most Bell smartphones are compatible with’ (ahead of rival Rogers Communications’ 700MHz launch later that month). Bell has 700MHz spectrum in 31 national markets, which it is now using to expand 4G mobile broadband services to small towns, rural locations and Canada’s North, with an objective to deliver LTE to more than 98% of the population.
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