On Bell’s BCE Inc (BCE) Q1 2020 Results Conference Call on Thursday new Bell’s President and CEO Mirko Bibic said: “We are ready with our initial 5G network, but frankly we don’t think that it’s the right time right now to officially launch it for marketing purposes. I just don’t think that customers are paying attention to this right now and that’s not what is top of mind for our customer base. They have other priorities, understandably.
Bell Canada started the deployment of its 5G network infrastructure this year, using Nokia’s gear.
Babic did say that the infrastructure projects continue: “At the same time, we are maintaining our network deployment plans, whether that be fiber-to-the-home, expanding our leading wireless networks, getting ready for 5G or accelerating our wireless home Internet service footprint with, as I said, 137,000 additional homes passed in April. This is not a time to pull back capital spending on critical network infrastructure.“
Bibic has previously said that Bell will continue to enhance 5G capacity, speed and coverage as additional 5G spectrum becomes available through an auction later this year. On the call Bibic confirmed that Bell is keen to go ahead with the spectrum auction “Well, I — on the auction timing, look, here’s what — back to my opening comments about — my general comments in my opening about we cannot risk as a country falling behind in communications networks and now makes it as clear as ever how important world-leading communications are. So with that as context, I don’t think we can and shouldn’t want to fall behind on 5G and 3,500 megahertz, as we all know, is the backbone of 5G. So my point of view is we need to have that auction as planned or very soon after if it’s not December 15, then might be very soon after December 15, and that would be our position. Let’s have the auction, let’s move forward, let’s make that spectrum available, let’s lead in 5G.
Bell’s net profits in Q1 are C$733M (US$526M) which is 7.3% down compared to a year-ago quarter. Revenue was C$5.68B down 0.9%.
You can find the whole call transcript here: https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2020/05/08/bce-inc-bce-q1-2020-earnings-call-transcript.aspx