For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Bell’s financial results exceeded pre-COVID levels, according to its first quarter 2022 results.
The financial results of their wireless business played an important role. Services revenue grew 8.7% year-over-year, driven in part by customers subscribing to mobile services and other devices and higher roaming revenue due to the increase in travel. This is the company’s best quarterly organic services revenue growth in 11 years.
It is important to note that Bell increased the costs of several of its mobile services during the last quarter. Bell has increased its 45GB plan from $90 per month to $95 and will increase the cost of its international roaming plan on May 12.
The company added 32,176 new mobile subscribers, increasing the 2,405 reported in the first quarter of 2021.
Its monthly subscribers grew by 34,230, offset by its prepaid mobile customer base, which fell by 2,054 subscribers this quarter. Despite the loss, Bell reports that the decrease is less than the loss of 30,000 prepaid subscribers reported in the first quarter of 2021. It attributes the improvement to increased activity and lower churn, which describes the number of customers who have stopped subscribing to a specific service in the last quarter.
These figures brought Bell’s total mobile customer base to 9.49 million at the end of the first quarter of 2022, a year-over-year increase of 3.5%. Approximately 8.6 million of these customers subscribe to Bell’s monthly services and 827,000 are prepaid customers.
The company has not had similar success with the sale of its products. Product sales decreased 3.8% this quarter compared to last. Bell helped “reduce sales transaction volumes year over year.”
Revenue from the company’s services in this segment fell 0.8%, continuing the downward trend of people moving away from traditional voice and satellite TV services. Product revenue was also down 28.6% due to reduced spending.
Bell compensated for service declines with new Internet and IPTV subscribers. Bell increased its Internet subscribers by almost 23%. The company had 3.9 million internet subscribers at the end of the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 6%. Nearly 70,000 of these subscribers came from Bell’s takeover of EBOX and related companies.
IPTV subscribers also increased by 12,000.
The company also introduced 3 Gbps internet service, making its pure fiber internet service three times faster than speeds available through cable. Launched in April, the service is only available in parts of Toronto. Bell has promised to expand the service, but no details explaining its plans are available at this time.
Bell is also extending its Internet services to 87,000 homes in the Ontario municipalities of Amherstburg, Georgina, Guelph and Pickering.