Copyright 2022, Faulkner Information Services. All
Publication Date: 2212
Report Type: VENDOR
Bell Canada, a subsidiary of Canada’s largest communications company BCE
(formerly Bell Canada Enterprises), offers communications services such as
Internet, wireless, and voice and data communications to residential,
small-to-medium-sized business, and large enterprise customers throughout
the country. Bell Wireline provides local and long distance telephone and
Internet services primarily in Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces,
and Manitoba, while satellite TV service and connectivity are available
nationally. The Bell Wireless subsidiary offers integrated digital
wireless voice and data communication across Canada.
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1 Carrefour Alexander Graham Bell
Verdun QC H3E 3B3
Phone: (800) 339-6353
Services Areas: Canada
Stock Symbol: BCE (TSX and NYSE)
|Bell Mobility Company
|Telecommunications in Canada
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Bell Canada is a subsidiary of Canada’s largest communications company
BCE (formerly Bell Canada Enterprises). The firm is the umbrella brand for
two of BCE’s three main business segments:
- Bell Wireline provides data, including Internet
access and Internet protocol television (IPTV), local telephone, long
distance, as well as other communication services and products to
residential, small-to-medium-sized business and large enterprise
customers primarily in Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces, and
Manitoba; satellite TV service and connectivity to business customers
are available nationally across Canada. In addition, this segment
includes a wholesale business, which buys and sells local telephone,
long distance, data and other services from or to resellers and other
- Bell Wireless provides wireless voice and data
communication products and services to residential,
small-to-medium-sized business and large enterprise customers as well as
consumer electronics products across Canada. Bell Wireless offers data
and voice plans as well as devices through its national consumer
electronics retailer, The Source. Bell Wireless also supplies mobile
business solutions as well as IoT solutions such as asset management,
smart building and smart city services, and fleet management.
BCE’s third business segment, Bell Media, controls 35
conventional TV stations, 27 specialty TV channels, 109 licensed radio
stations in 58 markets, and a network of more than 50,000 advertising
billboards and other signage in key urban markets.
History & Milestone Events
Contrary to popular belief, it was not Alexander Graham Bell who began
the business now known as Bell Canada. However, he did assign rights to
the brand, including licenses of operation in Canada, to his father,
Professor Melville Bell, who sold the rights to National Bell of Boston,
owners of Graham Bell’s patent in the United States. National Bell
president, W.H. Forbes, chose Charles Fleetford Sise as general manager
and instructed him to organize a Canadian company on a national basis.
Sise founded the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, and it was incorporated
by federal charter on April 29, 1880. The directors selected Montreal
businessman, Andrew Robertson, as the company’s first president and
Montreal as the location of the head office. Milestones in the company’s
history include the following:
- 1983 – Created Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) as a
- 1999 – Through an alliance with MCI WorldCom, gained
access to a global network.
- 2002 – Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) and Bell
Canada announced the combining of interests in Bell Intrigna and Bell
Nexxia in Alberta and British Columbia to create Bell West; sold
US-based long-distance operator Excel Communications to VarTec Telecom.
- 2003 – Restructured, moving from a geographic
organization to one based on three customer market segments: consumer,
small and medium-sized business, and enterprise.
- 2006 – BCE Holding, Bell Canada’s parent company,
completed the integration of Aliant, the incumbent phone company in the
Atlantic and Maritime Provinces; sold its Telesat Canada unit to Loral
Space & Communications.
- 2007 – BCE accepted the offer from a private-equity
consortium to acquire all assets of the company and take Bell Canada
- 2008 – BCE announced that it agreed to terms of a $35
billion CAD ($34.3 million USD) sale to a takeover group led by the
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; however, in December, auditor KPMG said
BCE would be insolvent if the transaction went through, and the
purchasing company backed out of the deal. The privatization transaction
did not proceed.
- 2009 – Acquired The Source, a Canadian electronics
retailer that had been acquired in 2004 by Circuit City, which filed
Chapter 11 in the US in November 2008; announced that its Bell Mobility
wireless division will be the first carrier to offer Canadians full SMS
(Short Messaging Service or mobile text messaging) support for
interacting with social networking application Twitter; acquired the
remaining 50 percent in its Virgin Mobile Canada partnership, bringing
ownership to 100 percent.
- 2010 – Completed the roll out of HSPA/HSPA+ 3G on its
wireless network; launched service on portions of a C$225 million
fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) network in Quebec City that will take three
years to complete; Bell Aliant launched an FTTN network in Nova Scotia
with operating speeds of 7G bps; Bell Aliant launched FiberOP FTTN
service in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Reported plans to acquire CTV.
- 2011 – Completed its $40 million acquisition of
xwave from Bell Aliant; the transaction will enhance offerings in the
areas of IT products and professional services for corporate,
government, and health-care clients cross Canada. Launched its Bell
Business Apps Store, providing business software including accounting,
project management, collaboration, customer relationship management, and
other types of applications via a low-cost, subscription-based delivery
model. Closed its CA$3.2 billion acquisition of CTV, and launched a new
business unit called Bell Media which combines CTV and other Bell
content assets. Launched 4G LTE services in Toronto, Mississauga,
Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph.
- 2013 – After initially rejecting BCE’s proposal to
acquire Astral Media in 2012, the CRTC ultimately approved the C$3.2
billion acquisition in June, 2013.
- 2014 -Completed its privatization of Bell Aliant and
the integration of the Atlantic Canada affiliate into BCE’s national
operations. BCE reported plans to acquire mobile phone retailer Glentel.
- 2015 – With the Kilmer Group, agreed to jointly
acquire the Toronto Argonauts Football Club of the Canadian Football
League (CFL) from sports entrepreneur David Braley. Divested its 15%
equity position in Globe and Mail Inc. to the Woodbridge Company
- 2016 – Acquired all equity it did not already own
in Q9 Networks Inc., a Toronto-based data center operator that provides
outsourced hosting and other data services.
- 2017 – Acquired Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. for
approximately $3.9 billion.
- 2018 – Completed its acquisition of Canadian home
security and monitoring company AlarmForce Industries in an effort to
expand in the connected home marketplace, and acquired Axia NetMedia
Corporation, the Calgary-based operator of the SuperNet broadband
- 2019 – Filed a patent that details a wearable device
designed for providing emergency services.
- 2020 – Mirko Bibic becomes president and CEO of BCE.
Sells 25 data center facilities to global data center operator Equinix
for $1.04 billion. Launches its 5G wireless network. Acquired Environics
Analytics and made a minority investment in Grande Studios to increase
resources for Quebec’s French-language content creation and production.
- 2021 – Announces a $1 billion capital plan to
accelerate fiber, rural, and 5G network rollouts across the country.
Rebrands its Virgin Mobile operations as Virgin Plus.
- 2022 – Acquires EBOX, an independent Internet,
telephone, and television service provider based in Longueuil, Quebec.
Announces the network readiness of 5G+, the fastest mobile technology in
Canada, building on the the acquisition of 3500 MHz spectrum.
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The strategy of Bell Canada, as manifested through its parent, BCE, is to
deliver on BCE’s six strategic imperatives:
Strategic Imperative 1: Build the best networks.
As reported by analyst Diana Goovaerts in August 2021, “Bell Canada
revealed plans to deliver fiber to 2,000 new locations in the Niagara
region as it pushes toward a goal of reaching 850,000 to 900,000 new
passings by the end of 2021. Bell Canada [also] announced it would also
extend fiber to a total of 3,700 rural locations in Rawdon, Sainte-Adele,
and Roxton Pond this year. The builds are part of a plan announced in
February to accelerate capital investments in fiber and 5G over the next
two years, with the goal of increasing Bell Canada’s broadband footprint
to a total of 6.9 million locations by end-2021.”1
Strategic Imperative 2: Drive growth with innovative services.
According to Fierce Telecom, “Bell Canada has chosen to work
with Google Cloud to power Bell’s company-wide digital transformation and
enhance its network and IT infrastructure. The new, multi-year partnership
will combine Bell’s 5G network with Google Cloud’s Anthos Multicloud
solution, which extends Google Cloud services to its customers’
environments. Bell plans to begin the collaboration by shifting some of
its critical workloads and applications from its on-premise IT
infrastructure to Google Cloud. Bell Canada will also tap Google’s
expertise in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain
insights about real-time network performance, capacity planning, and
Strategic Imperative 3: Deliver the most compelling content.
For example, for the 2020-2021 broadcast year, Bell Media partnered with
nearly 50 production companies across Canada to create hundreds of hours
of original content in French and English, deliverable by Bell Canada.
Strategic Imperative 4: Champion customer experience.
For example, the Bell team adapted to the “unique service challenges”
presented by COVID-19, introducing remote-assisted, self-install programs
which enabled field technicians to guide customers through service setups
via phone or video. Both customers and technicians were spared exposure to
Strategic Imperative 5: Operate with agility and cost efficiency.
For example, to promote efficiency and effectiveness, Bell is rebuilding
Canada’s communications backbone with fast, secure, and scalable fiber
Strategic Imperative 6: Engage and invest in our people.
As evidence, Bell set new standards for Black, Indigenous and People of
Color (BIPOC) representation with:
- At least 25 percent BIPOC persons in senior management by 2025
- At least 40 percent BIPOC representation among student and graduate
The brand name of “Bell” is probably Bell Canada’s biggest strength as it
carries considerable clout – company recognition and respect – throughout
Canada and all of North America.
It’s not enough, however, to provide high-quality products and services
if reliability, safety, and security are not assured. To that end, all of
Bell’s critical business units have documented business continuity plans
for all critical business functions. The plans are reviewed and exercised
annually to ensure their currency and viability.
Bell’s Emergency Management Program includes procedures to ensure the
safety of employees, customers, partners, and suppliers who work in the
Vitally, plans are in place to ensure the resumption of activities
following any type of incident including:
- Mass evacuations
- Infectious disease outbreaks
- Labor disruptions
- Loss of systems
- Loss of telecommunications networks and/or company facilities
Bell Canada’s position as the preeminent provider of telecommunications
services in Canada is probably beyond challenge, but the company is
nonetheless concerned about two recent developments:
COVID-19 – While many experts predicted the novel
coronavirus would, by now, transition from a pandemic to an endemic
affliction, a combination of persistent vaccine resistance and the related
emergence of new virus variants like the Delta and Omicron strains have
business leaders nervous about continuing – perhaps worsening – economic
conditions. This uncertainty could result in increased insolvencies,
bankruptcies, permanent store closures, and decreased consumer and
corporate spending in Canada and around the world – potentially affecting
Bell’s bottom line.
Global Chip Shortage – The continuing shortage of
electronic chips may adversely affect the production and delivery of
consumer electronics and mobile devices, including smartphones and
tablets, thereby diminishing Bell’s revenues as fewer devices mean fewer
Adverse Economic Conditions – Inflation and increasing
interest rates leading to uncertainty in the financial markets or a
declining level of retail and commercial activity could have a negative
impact on the demand for, and prices of, Bell’s products and services.
Competition – The proposed combination of Rogers
Communications and Shaw Communications could create a Canadian competitor
with larger scale than Bell, which could have implications for each of the
company’s business segments.
The immediate future for Bell Canada is tied to the company’s 5G vision.
Bell expanded its 5G network to new markets across Quebec, Ontario, the
Atlantic provinces, and Manitoba during 2021 and 2022. Bell’s 5G network
covered more than 70 percent of Canada’s population as of December 31,
2021, a significant increase from the 26 percent of the population covered
at the end of 2020.
Further improving Bell’s business prospects, PC Magazine
determined that Bell’s mobile networks are the fastest in Canada for three
consecutive years (2020-2022)3, and Global Wireless Solutions
(GWS) ranked Bell 5G as the nation’s best.4
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Bell Canada Enterprises offers a wide range of products and services for
both individuals and businesses, as highlighted in Table 1.
Security and Automation
|Medium and Large Business||Mobility
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet and Private Networks
Communications – End-to-end voice, unified communications, and
contact center solutions
Cloud – Flexible, scalable, and secure cloud ecosystem
Security – Leading-edge cybersecurity solutions and expertise
With Bell, you get – or soon will get – 5G, as illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Bell Canada Coverage Map
Source: Bell Canada
- Rogers Communications: https://www.rogers.com/
- Shaw Communications: https://www.shaw.ca/
- Telus: https://www.telus.com/
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Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures
Bell Canada‘s CFO Glen LeBlanc told a
telecoms and media conference that the group plans to merge the
operations of its subsidiary EBOX with alternative telco Distributel
once the takeover deal for the latter receives regulatory clearance.
LeBlanc added that the Distributel acquisition will help Bell accelerate
its fixed Internet subscription take-up, while noting that the purchase
will take between three and five months to gain regulatory approval.
Bell acquired EBOX, described as the largest independent ISP in Quebec,
in February 2022 and in 1Q22 Bell registered subscription base increases
of 67,090 (fixed Internet), 9,025 (IPTV) and 3,456 (fixed voice) via the
Bell Canada and Distributel announced
that Distributel intends to join the Bell group of companies to support
its growth strategy in the residential and business segments for
Internet services. Analysts believe that investing in Distributel and
its family of brands aligns with Bell’s efforts to provide customers
with a choice in service options. With Bell’s investment, Distributel
will benefit from expanded resources and access to technology required
to support the next stage in its business growth and to continue to
enhance the services it already successfully delivers to customers. Upon
the acquisition close, Distributel will continue to operate
independently and existing operations will continue under the leadership
of Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel. The details of the transaction were
not disclosed and is subject to regulatory approvals.
Bell Canada has acquired EBOX, an
Internet, telephone, and television service provider based in Longueuil,
Quebec. Bell will maintain the EBOX brand and operations, and EBOX will
continue providing telecommunications services for consumers and
businesses in Quebec and parts of Ontario. Under Bell, EBOX will benefit
from the resources and scale necessary to support the growth of the
business and continue improving its services. EBOX will continue to
operate on a standalone basis under the leadership of Isis Thiago De
Souza, VP and General Manager.
Products and Services
Bell MTS announced the expansion of
its all-fiber broadband network to more homes and businesses across
rural Manitoba. Part of Bell’s capital expenditure acceleration program,
the latest expansion program will bring all-fiber connections to over
6,500 locations throughout Blumenort, Ile des ChÃªnes, Landmark,
Matlock, St. Adolphe, Stony Mountain, and Winnipeg Beach starting this
fall. Fully funded by Bell, the broadband network expansion will provide
high-capacity 100 percent fiber connections with Internet download
speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps and access to leading Bell services such as
Gigabit Fibe Internet, Whole Home Wi-Fi and Fibe TV. By the end of this
year, Bell says it will have invested approximately $14 billion in
capital expenditures since 2020, including planned capital expenditures
of approximately $5 billion in 2022, to accelerate the rollout of its
broadband fiber, 5G and Wireless Home Internet networks.
Bell Canada has received a grant
from the government of Ontario to run fiber to underserved locations
across the province. The award was part of a broader $4 billion funding
effort by Ontario’s government aimed at delivering broadband to every
location in the province by the end of 2025. The Ontario Accelerated
High Speed Internet Program (AHSIP) allocated a total of CAD1.25 billion
(about $966.8 million) to eight service providers to connect just over
266,000 locations. Bell Canada snagged the largest grant, getting
CAD483.8 million to serve 82,632 locations. Including its grant
winnings, the operator said it plans to invest a total of CAD650 million
in expanding its network in the province. Beyond its AHSIP commitments,
it noted it plans to reach an additional 37,000 locations near where it
will be building with the grant money.
Bell Canada announced the
availability of 5G+ service in southern Ontario, offering customers the
country’s fastest mobile technology yet on Canada’s top-ranked 5G
wireless network. Earlier this month, Bell began deploying 3500 MHz
wireless spectrum, signaling its next phase of 5G advancement. Available
today in Toronto, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Barrie, and select
areas of Mississauga, Bell 5G+ is expected to be faster and more
responsive, allowing for a superior mobile experience. In Toronto,
speeds with 5G+ are now over 50 percent faster than before.
Bell Canada has expanded pure fiber
Internet service to homes and businesses in more than 25 communities
across New Brunswick. Part of Bell’s capital expenditure acceleration
program for investment in national next generation network
infrastructure, this expansion program will bring pure fiber broadband
access to over 20,000 additional locations in the province this year.
Bell’s services will provide fast and high-capacity 100 percent fiber
connections with Internet download speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps. This is
part of Bell’s two-year $10 billion capital expenditure program, now in
its second year, to accelerate the rollout of its broadband fiber, 5G,
and rural networks. 7,200 locations in the communities of Hampton
(including Darlings Island), Lameque, Miscou, Memramcook,
Saint-Louis-de-Kent and Scoudouc are already open to customers. Another
1,600 locations are coming soon to the Kingston Peninsula. The remaining
locations are expected to be completed by the end of the year and will
benefit customers in the communities of Charters Settlement, Hartland,
Keswick, Mazerolle Settlement, Nasonworth, Perth-Andover, Petitcodiac,
Plaster Rock, Riviere-Verte, Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, Saint-Leonard,
Shediac Bridge and Tracadie (including Four Roads, Losier Settlement,
Pontgrave, Pont-Lafrance, Pont-Landry, Robertson Brook Road,
Sainte-Rose, Six Roads and Val-Comeau). Bell says it will notify
residents once the service is available at their address.
Bell Canada‘s 5G network was awarded
Canada’s fastest 5G network by Ookla. The 2021 Speedtest Award by Ookla
recognizes Bell 5G as Canada’s fastest 5G network based on Speedtest
results independently collected and analyzed by Ookla during Q3-Q4 2021
and calculated using median 5G download and upload speeds. Bell’s 5G
network has also been recognized with top honors from Global Wireless
Solutions (GWS) for best 5G network and PCMag for fastest mobile network
(4G and 5G) overall.
Alliances and Joint Ventures
Bell Canada and Amazon Web Services
announced the launch of the first public multi-access edge computing
(MEC) with AWS Wavelength in Canada. Building on Bell’s agreement with
AWS announced last year, the two companies are deploying AWS Wavelength
Zones throughout the country at the edge of Bell’s 5G network starting
in Toronto. Bell Public MEC with AWS Wavelength embeds AWS compute and
storage services at the edge of the Bell 5G network, closer to mobile
and connected devices where data is generated and consumed. This enables
software developers and businesses to take full advantage of the high
speed and low latency of Bell’s 5G network and the cloud with AWS to
build solutions that leverage real-time visual data processing,
augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence and machine
learning (AI/ML), advanced robotics, and much more.
Bell Canada has entered a five-year
strategic engagement with the Vector Institute, an independent,
not-for-profit corporation dedicated to research in the field of
artificial intelligence (AI). Bell’s collaboration with the Vector
Institute is part of its objective to remain at the forefront of
technology and innovation in telecommunications services, and encourage
the development of, and expertise in, new, emerging technologies in
Canada. Bell has invested over the past decades in developing extensive
data, analytics capabilities, and AI applications in multiple areas of
its operations. The collaboration will help to continue accelerating the
development and adoption of AI applications across Bell.
Bell Canada and Google Cloud
announced a significant milestone in their strategic partnership with
Bell’s deployment of Google Distributed Cloud Edge in its network. The
companies say this is the world’s first implementation of core network
functions on Google Distributed Cloud Edge, a fully managed product that
brings Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services closer to where the
data is being generated and consumed. The advancement builds on Bell and
Google Cloud’s strategic partnership, announced in 2021, to combine
Bell’s 5G network with Google Cloud’s multi-cloud, data analytics, and
Artificial Intelligence (AI), and enable Bell to drive operational
efficiencies. In addition, Bell and Google Cloud are working together to
explore how 5G and mobile edge computing can power new opportunities
across industries including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and
BCE reported results for the third
quarter of 2022. The company’s operating revenue increased 3.2 percent
over Q3 2021 to CAD$6.024 billion, with service revenue up 1.8 percent
to $5.193 billion and product revenue seeing a 12.8 percent increase to
$831 million. The result was driven by strong wireless and residential
Internet growth as well as higher year-over-year business wireline data
equipment sales. Media revenue was unchanged compared to last year. Net
earnings, meanwhile, declined 5.2 percent to $771 million with the
year-over-year decrease attributed to higher other expenses such as
higher depreciation and amortization expenses, increased interest
expenses and higher year-over-year asset impairment charges. Adjusted
net earnings were up 7.1 percent to $801 million, delivering a 7.3
percent increase in adjusted earnings per share to $0.88.
For the second quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, BCE‘s
operating revenue increased 2.9 percent over Q2 2021 to CAD$5.861
billion, thanks to 3.8 percent higher service revenue of $5.233 billion
driven by strong wireless, residential Internet and media growth.
Product revenue was down 4.6 percent to $628 million, largely reflecting
lower year-over-year business wireline data equipment sales. Net
earnings declined 10.9 percent to $654 million. Adjusted net earnings
were up 5.3 percent to $791 million, delivering a 4.8 percent increase
in adjusted earnings per share to $0.87.
Bell Canada’s parent company, BCE,
announced first quarter 2022 results. Operating revenue increased 2.5
percent compared to Q1 2021 to CAD$5.85 billion, driven by 4.2 percent
higher service revenue of $5.177 billion on strong wireless, residential
Internet, and media growth. Product revenue was down 8.8 percent to $673
million, reflecting fewer new mobile device transactions and lower
business wireline data equipment sales. Net earnings increased 36
percent to $934 million.
BCE reported fourth quarter and full
year 2021 results. For the quarter, operating revenue was CAD$6.209
billion, up 1.8 percent compared to Q4 2020, driven by a three percent
increase in service revenue to $5.243 billion, although product revenue
decreased 4.5 percent to $966 million, due to fewer mobile device
transactions and lower business wireline data equipment sales. For the
full year, BCE operating revenue grew 2.5 percent to CAD$23.449 billion
with year-over-year increases of 2.6 percent in service revenue and 1.6
percent in product revenue. Net earnings in Q4 declined 29.4 percent to
$658 million. The year-over-year decrease was due in part to a one-time
gain realized on the sale of Bell data centers to Equinix in Q4 2020
totaling $211 million. For FY 2021, net earnings increased 7.2 percent
to $2.892 billion.
1 Diana Goovaerts. “Bell Canada on Track to Hit 900k New
Fiber Passings in 2021.” Fierce Telecom | Questex LLC.
August 18, 2021.
2 Linda Hardesty. “Bell Canada Selects Google Cloud for IT
Transformation.” Fierce Telecom | Questex LLC. July 19,
3 Sascha Segan. “Fastest Mobile Networks Canada 2022.” PC
Magazine. September 20, 2022.
4 “Bell Takes Top Honors as Canada’s Best 5G Network and
Fastest 5G Network” (press release). Global Wireless Solutions,
November 2, 2021.
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