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Quebecor “pleased” with CRTC MVNO decision

News | 05/13/2021 6:10 pm EDT
Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau addresses a CRTC panel on Feb. 25, 2020./ Photo via CPAC.

Quebecor Inc. CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau added his voice to a chorus of telecom CEOs who have praised the CRTC’s April decision which mandated access for a limited number of facilities-based regional mobile virtual network operators. 

“We’re pleased with the CRTC decision allowing facilities-based MVNOs, as it confirms the importance of maintaining healthy competition in all regions of Canada, through a strong, well funded, and viable fourth wireless competitor, which invariably leads to lower prices for consumers as we ourselves clearly demonstrated in Quebec,” Péladeau told analysts on a first quarter earnings call Thursday afternoon. 

Péladeau also reiterated his company’s desire to purchase Shaw Communications Inc.‘s Freedom Mobile brand, should the Competition Bureau force Rogers Communications Inc. to sell the asset as part of the regulatory approval process for their planned merger. 

“It’s imperative that the competition bureau and other regulatory authorities act sensibly and consistently with respect to the recently announced acquisition of Shaw by Rogers, to ensure that the important competitive role played by Freedom wireless in Ontario and the Western provinces continues,” Péladeau said, “through the sale of these assets to an experienced and proven operator who will ensure the long term viability and success of a fourth competitor in these key markets so that prices will continue to come down for Canadian consumers.”  

Quebecor reported a 3.4 per cent overall revenue increase, up to $1.09 billion for the three months that ended March 31 from $1.06 billion a year ago.

Revenues from its telecommunications division were up to $914 million from $874.7 million at this time last year for an increase of 4.5 per cent, while media revenue stayed flat at $174.8 million. Revenue from the sports and entertainment sector of the business fell to $31.2 million from $34.8 million a year ago. Within the company’s telecommunications division, internet revenue climbed to $296.6 million from $277.5 million a year ago, while television revenue dropped to $213.2 million from $233.1 million. Mobile phone revenue climbed to $170.5 million from $160.2 million a year ago. Wireline revenue dropped slightly to $80.7 million from $82.8 million this time last year. 

The company’s overall profits fell to $120 million from $131.4 million a year ago. 

In wireless, the company added some 22,100 subscribers in the quarter, well below the 39,300 it added in the same period last year, for a total of 1.5 million wireless subscribers. Wireless average billing per user (ABPU) dropped to $49.95 from $51.60 a year ago.

On the wireline side, Quebecor added 10,600 internet subscribers, more than the 6,100 the company added this time last year, for a total of 1.81 million subscribers. For television, the company reported losing 16,500 subscribers, a smaller decrease than the 19,700 it lost a year ago, for a total of 1.46 million television subscribers. 

— Reporting by Michael Lee-Murphy at mleemurphy@thewirereport.ca and editing by Hannah Daley at hdaley@thewirereport.ca


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