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article imageRogers tops profit estimates as wireless subscriber base grows

By Karen Graham     Apr 20, 2018 in Technology
Toronto - Additional spending on customer service helped Rogers Communications Inc. boost its wireless customer base in the first quarter as it reported revenue and adjusted income that topped analyst forecasts.
The Toronto-based telecommunications company saw its profits soar in the first quarter of 2018 after shaking off a rocky fourth quarter and increased competition, gaining 95,000 net postpaid additions in the first quarter compared to 60,000 in the same quarter in 2017.
The company's net profits were $425 million, up 37 percent from $310 million in the comparable period last year, while adjusted earnings grew even more - rising 45 percent to $477 million, while total revenue was $3.63 billion, up eight percent from $3.37 billion last year.
The net profit figures are based on a new accounting standard adopted in the quarter. Net profit amounted to 83 cents per share from 60 cents a year ago, while adjusted earnings rose to 93 cents from 64 cents, reports The Star. Shares rose by $2.17 (U.S.) to $47.94 after hours on the NASDAQ.
The overall gain in its customer base came after the company lost 35,000 of 72,000 customers it had gained in the fourth quarter of last year due to a computer glitch that occurred during a 5-day frenzy of wireless deals in December, reports the Globe and Mail.
A Rogers Plus store in Markville Mall in Markham  Ontario.
A Rogers Plus store in Markville Mall in Markham, Ontario.
Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine
Speaking on a conference call on Thursday, Rogers chief executive Joe Natale told analysts that in looking at the overall wireless marketplace, including the company’s rivals, it appears everyone had healthy growth during the quarter. Mr. Natale called the quarter “a rock solid start to the year,” and added later that “churn is the real story in Q1,”
Natale pointed out the company had made real progress on reducing the loss of customers, called chum, by being proactive and looking for ways to improve customer service as well as investing in improvements at its call centers.
“If you look at what we’ve been focused on, we’ve been focusing on doing a better job of managing our base of customers and really kind of looking through our base and looking at retention — proactive retention opportunities,” Natale said.
RBC Securities analyst Drew McReynolds said he sees the “underlying results as better than expected, driven by solid wireless postpaid net additions and wireless ARPU [average revenue per user] growth and slightly better cable [subscriber numbers].”
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