Telus posts double-digit profit and revenue growth in second quarter

The sign on the front of the Telus head office is shown in Toronto, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Virtual care offerings and new customers helped Telus Corp. post double-digit profit and revenue increases in its latest quarter, which it released a day after announcing it was acquiring new spectrum licences.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications company and owner of one of Canada’s three national wireless networks said Friday that its net income attributable to common shareholders climbed 15.5 per cent to $335 million in the second quarter from $290 million a year earlier.

That equalled 25 cents per share for the three months ended June 30, two cents per share better than the second quarter of 2020.

Executives from the company attributed the results to a wave of new customers and investments it made in health technology.

Telus reported 223,000 new customer additions in the quarter, up 82,000 from last year. The new additions included 89,000 mobile phones, 84,000 connected devices and 30,000 internet, 19,000 security and 11,000 TV customer connections.

Telus’ health services, an area where it has focused more intensely during the COVID-19 pandemic because people became more comfortable connecting with doctors through video conferencing, was also a bright spot.

Members of the company’s virtual care programs totalled 2.2 million by the end of the quarter, up by about 1 million over the past 12 months.

Digital health transactions amounted to 137.1 million, up 13.0 million over the second quarter of 2020.

“At Telus Health, our team drove 26 per cent year-over-year health services revenue growth in the quarter, with robust key operating results, including earning one million new virtual health care members over the last twelve months, representing an 83 per cent increase over last year,” said Darren Entwistle, Telus’ chief executive, in a release.

The company’s health business helped push Telus’ adjusted profits to $348 million or 26 cents per share, compared with $316 million or 25 cents per share in the prior year quarter.

Revenues increased 10.3 per cent to $4.1 billion, from $3.7 billion, driven by an increase in customer, mobile phone and fixed customer net additions.

Telus was expected to report 26 cents per share in adjusted profits on $4.08 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Telus released its quarterly results after it revealed Thursday that it was acquiring $1.95 billion in new spectrum licences in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

Combined with spectrum it acquired privately in January 2021, Telus now holds licences to an average of 25 MHz of 3500 spectrum nationally and 40 MHz in its key markets, at an average price of $2.53 per MHz for each person the licence covers.

Entwistle positioned the new licenses as key for expanding 5G technology throughout Canada and connecting Canadians from coast to coast, but he also used the announcement as a warning.

“Canada’s position as a global leader in broadband networks is vulnerable to burdensome regulations governing access to spectrum,” he said in a release.

“Going forward, if we are to truly benefit all Canadians, accelerate the government’s innovation and affordability agendas, and transition successfully into a 5G digital world, we need responsible, forward-looking and predictable regulatory policy that ensures affordable, fair and expeditious access to this national asset.”

The Canadian Press

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