Big three Canadian telcos named in patent infringement suit

BCE, Telus, and Rogers Communications are named in a lawsuit for alleged patent infringement involving tech used to locate mobile phones for 9-1-1 service. Colorado company TracBeam LLC filed the statement of claim in Federal Court in late July. It maintains that without its patented technology, the big three would not have been able to comply with CRTC requirements. The company has previously sued and reached settlements with Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, alleging similar infringement.

BCE’s Q2 2018 quarterly profit was down year-over-year despite strong wireless subscriber additions. Bell added 122,092 net postpaid wireless subscribers (up 37.8 per cent), its best second-quarter result since 2000. Net income attributable to shareholders was $704 million or 79 cents per share, down from $765 million or 85 cents per share in the second quarter of 2017. Bell Media reported revenues of $791 million, a 0.6 per cent decline over last year as ad revenue for conventional and non-sports specialty TV decreased due to ongoing market softness and viewership declines for traditional linear TV. This was moderated by advertising revenue from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, increases at specialty TV news service CP24 and continued growth in Astral outdoor advertising. Subscriber revenue increased 1.9 per cent in Q2, reflecting continued growth of the CraveTV and TV Everywhere GO platforms, and revenue from newly-launched direct-to-consumer sports streaming services TSN Direct and RDS Direct.

Darren Entwistle

Telus reported strong results for the second quarter 2018 with consolidated revenue of $3.5 billion, up 5.3 per cent over the same period a year ago, primarily due to continued growth in wireless network and wireline data services revenue. EBITDA increased by 3.6 per cent to $1.3 billion. Darren Entwistle, president and CEO, says the quarter was characterized by the best combined retention levels on record in respect to postpaid wireless, high-speed internet and Telus TV. In the quarter, the company added 135,000 new wireless, high-speed internet and TV customers, up 30,000 or 29 per cent year over year. Telus’ total wireless subscriber base of 9.0 million is up 3.5 per cent from a year ago, reflecting a 4.6 per cent increase in its postpaid subscriber base to 8.1 million. High-speed Internet connections of 1.8 million are up 5.3 per cent over the last 12 months, while the Telus TV subscriber base stands at 1.1 million.

France Lauzière

TVA Group reported a $9.7 million ($0.22 per share) net loss attributable to shareholders in Q2 2018. That compares with a net loss of $1.9 million or $0.04 per share in the same quarter of 2017. EBITDA in the Broadcasting & Production segment was down $8,345,000, due primarily to a 60 per cent increase in the TVA Sports channel’s negative adjusted EBITDA and a 19 per cent decrease in TVA Network’s adjusted EBITDA. France Lauzière, TVA Group president, called the results “disappointing” saying that despite strong ratings for the NHL playoffs on TVA Sports, the fact that the Montreal Canadiens failed to make the first round negatively impacted ad revenues. Ad revenue on the network was down nine per cent for the quarter.

Kuhkenah Network (K-Net) and Western James Bay Telecom Network will receive a combined $7.03 million from the federal government’s Connect to Innovate program to help six Indigenous communities and up to 58 institutions in northern Ontario get online or improve their high-speed Internet access. K-Net, a First Nations-owned and operated Internet service provider in Sioux Lookout, will receive the bulk of the funding.

Xplornet is bringing its 5G-ready technology to rural New Brunswick. The hybrid fibre wireless network will use 3500 MHz spectrum, the same spectrum being used for Xplornet’s 5G trials currently underway. The Province of New Brunswick will contribute $10 million toward the $30 million dollar project. The first phase will begin immediately and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.

Centennial College multimedia sports journalism students will cover international track and field meet NACAC 2018 at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium from Aug. 10-12. Bringing together world-class athletes from 28 counties across North America, the Caribbean and Central America, Centennial’s School of Media, Communications, Arts and Design is dispatching 23 students to cover the event for TorontoObserver.ca. Students will fulfill roles from producers and reporters, to on-air talent, technical editing and support. Olympic medalist and 40-year journalist Debbi Wilkes heads up the NACAC coverage as the program’s summer coordinator, while Bob Torrens, former Sportsnet and Fight Network producer, handles the broadcast instructing.

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