Bell Canada has officially released its third quarter report for 2017, and has also taken the opportunity to announce a few details of ongoing 5G tests. The major carrier posted a fairly big improvement over the third quarter of last year, with revenue figures on the rise and churn dropping year on year. As for the 5G testing, the company announced that it has partnered up with Huawei for 5G, and tests are going well thus far. Following up on earlier tests with Nokia, the company is conducting tests with Huawei in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands, and things are reportedly going quite well so far.
The company managed to increase its net earnings to CAD $817 million or around $640 million USD, up 2.1% year on year. Free cash flow, meanwhile, grew by a substantial 24.4%. Service revenue and adjusted EBITDA are up by 5.9% and 5.8%, pushing the total margin for Bell Canada's wireless business up to 41.7%. This quarter saw a grand total of 198,005 new subscribers across Bell's entire suite of services, including wireless. Of those, Bell's wireless business managed 117,182 of those net adds. On the media side, this quarter saw revenues rise 1% year on year, with Bell citing acquisition of a few major French-language broadcast channels and the resulting spike in the Quebec market as a big contributor.
Bell's third quarter this year beat last year's in every way, and showed a good bit of improvement from last quarter as well. This means that the company will likely be able to sustain its normal levels of network resource usage and a stable manpower budget as it works toward rolling out comprehensive 5G solutions. Bell's 4G LTE network is continuing to expand and increase in capacity and speed, and that will likely continue; LTE network buildout and 5G network buildout can take place hand in hand thanks to Nokia's 4.9G technologies bridging the gap and allowing the same network equipment to be used for both sides. By working with Huawei at this stage, Bell is hedging its bets to ensure that it relies on the best possible network for a full-fledged 5G buildout. Most estimates put commercially viable 5G networks as being out in 2020, and Bell's current approach will see the company on that train.