Bell reports 32,925 postpaid mobile phone net additions in Q1 2021

The carrier's mobile phone customer base totalled 9,166,748 at the end of the quarter

Bell reported 32,925 postpaid mobile phone net additions in Q1 2021, according to the carrier’s quarterly earnings report released on April 29th.

The Montreal-based national carrier says the significant year-over-year improvement reflects an 18.8 percent increase in gross additions.

“Bell’s prepaid mobile phone base decreased by 30,520 net subscribers, compared to a net loss of 4,055 in Q1 2020. Lower overall market activity reflected a slowdown in immigration and international travel to Canada during COVID-19, as well as reduced retail store traffic, resulting in 26.5 percent fewer gross additions compared to last year,” the report outlines.

Bell added 2,405 total new postpaid and prepaid mobile phone customers in the quarter, compared to a net loss of 2,496 in Q1 2020.

It’s worth noting that Bell has changed the way it reports its wireless subscriber results to disclose mobile phones and mobile connected devices separately.

The carrier states that its mobile phone customer base totalled 9,166,748 at the end of the quarter, which is a 2.2 percent increase over last year. The number includes 8,361,264 postpaid subscribers and 805,484 prepaid customers.

Bell’s postpaid mobile phone churn for Q1 2021 was 0.89 percent. Churn rate is the percentage of subscribers who discontinue their subscriptions in a month.

Mobile phone blended average billing per user (ABPU) decreased by 3.4 percent to $70.34. Bell notes that this reflects reduced roaming and reductions in data overage revenue.

“Mobile connected device net activations increased 51.5 percent to 74,159 with increased demand for Bell IoT solutions, including connected car subscriptions. Mobile connected device subscribers totalled 2,130,312 at the end of Q1, an increase of 13.5 percent over last year,” the report notes.

Bell outlines that total wireless operating revenue increased 3.2 percent to $2,100 million. It notes that service revenue was down 2.1 percent $1,514 million, which was the result of lower roaming revenue to due decreased travel during the pandemic.

During the carrier’s call with investors, Bell CEO Mirko Bibic was asked to comment on how the carrier had made an offer to acquire Shaw Communications before the Rogers deal was finalized.

“We will always look at opportunities that come up,” Bibic stated. He outlined that the carrier will always look at ways to capitalize but ultimately decided not to move forward with the opportunity.