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Canadian Telco Havoc

Companies get a bad surprise with their overage charges; Telus may have taken a toll on Rogers

Andrew Willis 26 August, 2020 | 1:39AM
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Andrew Willis: Phone companies in North-America have been able to stay afloat through COVID-19 with the help of non-phone offerings, from internet service to sports teams. But that wasn’t enough to replace roaming charges – and the loss of such classic fees took a toll.

For example, as of August, BCE’s wireless billings dropped almost 9% year-over-year, as customers stayed at home, and we expect this to continue throughout the rest of this year. Equity analyst Matthew Dolgin sees losses in the product segment at around 95%, and says stay-at-home orders also affected the sales of cellphones, through losses in foot traffic to physical retail locations.

Altogether these losses add up to about 11% in wireless revenue gone for BCE. But Bell’s competitor, Rogers, really suffered with 13% in wireless revenue gone – combined with losses in its media segments to make a loss of 17%. But then came along Telus.

Wireless losses took a Toll on Telus, but in the midst of the chaos they picked up sixty-one thousand new subscribers. In the same period, Rogers lost…sixty-six thousand…prepaid customers. OuchIf this was a switch, it’s certainly worth noting that those customers then picked up postpaid plans with Telus.

As we look ahead, post-pandemic, we still see Canada’s Big 3 Telcos well on top of the wireless market. And those losses they faced? Considering they’re the few we had to choose from for so long: I’d say they signed up for it.

For Morningstar, I’m Andrew Willis.

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Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis  is Content Editor for Morningstar.ca. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWillisCDN.


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