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BCE plans wireless IPTV launch this month, reports steady second quarter profit

TORONTO – Telecommunications giant BCE Inc. will launch a fully wireless television service this month in an effort to boost its IPTV offering.

To the company’s knowledge, this is the first fully wireless IPTV service available globally, said president and chief executive George Cope in a conference call with analysts after the company announced its second-quarter earnings Thursday.

Internet protocol television — or IPTV — streams television through an Internet connection rather than through other methods like a TV antenna, satellite dish or coaxial cables.

BCE already provides an IPTV service through its Fibe TV offering, but this month it will launch a wireless box for the service. The company says this will reduce installation time to 30 minutes and give customers greater flexibility with where to place the box at home.

The company has more than 1.6 million connections to its Fibe TV service, adding 35,255 connections this quarter. This helped offset a net loss of 33,154 satellite TV customers.

Bell’s competitor, Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B), is also investing in IPTV technology.

The company, which reported its second-quarter earnings last month, plans to release its IPTV offering later this year. Although Rogers president and CEO Guy Laurence has said he’ll delay the release if the product is not ready.

BCE’s second quarter profit was up from last year, but revenue was essentially unchanged amid competitive pressure on prices.

BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) reported net income of $778 million or 89 cents per common share, up 2.5 per cent from last year.

The Montreal-based company’s adjusted earnings rose 12.1 per cent to $824 million — slightly better than estimates.

The adjusted earnings rose to 94 cents per share, up from 87 cents per share last year. It was three cents better than an estimate of 91 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters data.

BCE’s overall revenue edged up less than a per cent to $5.34 billion — in line with estimates.