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BCE gets summertime boost from Pan Am Games as users tap into data plans

Summertime weather and the Pan Am Games inspired tourists to whip out their smartphones, helping telecom provider BCE Inc. deliver an extra boost in quarterly profits.

Chief executive officer George Cope said Thursday that an influx of visitors to Toronto for the Games drove a spike in usage at the wireless provider.

“The summer season for sure, Pan Am Games, people travelling into Toronto that we hadn’t seen,” Cope said as he listed off the reasons why Bell’s wireless division saw broad improvements.

“We clearly have a summer effect in Canada on average revenue per user,” he added. “We’ll have to see next summer whether we see this incredible increase in usage again or not.”

While Cope didn’t quantify it, tourists roaming on Bell’s networks would have helped increase the performance of its wireless division, as they posted images captured on their phones from Pan Am events and made phone calls using Bell’s wireless towers.

Revenues in the wireless business grew 9.3 per cent to $1.77 billion, as the company added 77,655 new wireless postpaid subscribers and lost 19,112 prepaid subscribers.

Overall, BCE’s entire operation reported net earnings attributable to common shareholders rose 23 per cent to $739 million from $600 million a year ago.

The Montreal-based company (TSX:BCE) said revenue grew 2.9 per cent to $5.35 billion from $5.2 billion.

In its high-speed Internet division, Bell added nearly 58,000 net subscribers and 67,900 customers to its IPTV (Bell Fibe) television service. It lost nearly 42,000 subscribers to its satellite TV service.

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