Canadian operator Videotron generated CAD 876.7 million in revenues in the third quarter, up 2.6 percent from a year earlier thanks to continued mobile subscriber growth and higher hardware revenues after the launch of its new Helix video platform in the quarter. This offset a continued fall in TV and fixed telephony customers. Adjusted EBITDA rose 8.0 percent to CAD 467.7 million.
The operator ended the period with 6.05 million RGUs, up by 53,300 from June, similar to the growth in Q3 2018. Mobile customers increased by 56,800 to 1.29 million, while mobile ARPU was down slightly year-on-year to CAD 53.28 due to more Sim-only customers.
The number of broadband customers increased by 17,400 to 1.72 million, slightly slower growth than in the year-earlier period. Cable TV customers fell by 13,200 in the three months to 1.55 million, a nearly six-fold increase in losses compared to Q3 2018, and fixed telephony subscribers dropped by 202,00 to 1.05 million.
Videotron said rate increases helped compensate the drop in customers, with ARPU up 1.6 percent year-on-year to CAD 50.49.
The new IPTV service Helix, based on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform, had over 30,000 customers five weeks after its launch, the company said. The Club Illico on-demand service reached 443,500 customers at the end of September, after net additions of 12,500 in Q3.
The growth at Videotron helped support higher revenues and EBIDTA at its parent company Quebecor, while net profit was down to CAD 182.7 million from CAD 191.4 million a year earlier due to higher taxes and lower one-time gains.
Quebecor said it will continue to boost investment in original content, while also maintaining its fight against rival Bell’s encroachment on its Quebec footprint. The company also welcomed the federal court ruling at the end of September, staying the CRTC’s order on wholesale broadband access rates. The reduction in rates will remain on hold until the full appeal from operators is heard.