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Aug 3, 2018

Telus' wireless growth modest in second quarter; profit flat

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Telus Corp. surprised analysts with the strength of its second-quarter residential subscriber growth but its net income and adjusted earnings were flat compared with the same time last year as its wireless operations faced pricing challenges.

 

Western Canada's largest residential phone company -- and one of Canada's three national wireless companies -- said it had $390 million of net income attributable to common shares, up 0.3 per cent from last year.

Vancouver-headquartered Telus said its adjusted earnings were up 0.5 per cent at $414 million or 70 cents per share, which was in line with estimates from Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Revenue was also in line with expectations at $3.45 billion, up 5.3 per cent from $3.28 billion in last year's second quarter.

However, analysts said they were positively surprised by the number of subscribers that Telus added to its wireline networks, which provide phone, internet and IPTV television services in western Canada and eastern Quebec.

Telus's addition to its national wireless subscriber base was roughly in line with expectations but there were signs that the pricing environment has become more competitive this year.

In total, the company added 135,000 new wireless, high-speed internet and TV customers.

That included 87,000 net additions to its postpaid wireless service, an industry benchmark, as well as 29,000 high-speed internet subscribers and 15,000 Telus TV customers.

Barclays Capital analyst Phillip Huang described the Telus wireline subscribers as "the standout" for the second quarter and attributed the gain to deployment of fibre-to-the-home, which increases residential network speeds.

Internet additions were above the consensus estimate of 15,000, TV additions beat the estimate of 4,000 additions and the phone lines were down only 10,000 compared with the estimate of 20,000, Huang wrote in a commentary.

"Telus is currently the furthest along in its FTTP program, and we believe it continues to enjoy a more stable competitive environment, relative to its peers in Central/Eastern Canada." Huang wrote.

Meanwhile,  Telus wireless net additions were close to analyst estimates, but Huang said the financial results "reflect that the pricing environment has become more competitive this year."