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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Toronto Stock Exchange  >  BCE Inc.    BCE   CA05534B7604

BCE INC.

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Canada's Trudeau vows to cut cellphone bills, says he is ready to force firms to act

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09/22/2019 | 05:18pm EDT
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to supporters after speaking at an election campaign stop in Brampton

BRAMPTON, Ontario (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised on Sunday to reduce cellphone bills by 25% if his Liberals are re-elected next month and warned major providers he could force them to take action.

Affordability is a key issue ahead of the Oct. 21 election and Trudeau said Canadians paid among the highest wireless bills in the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

"Canadians shouldn't have to choose between having a cellphone and heating their homes," he told a news conference in the Ontario city of Brampton, saying the average Canadian family of four would save up to C$976 ($735) annually after four years.

Opinion polls show the Liberals face a tough battle against the opposition Conservatives, especially after the emergence of images last week showing Trudeau in blackface.

The main wireless providers - BCE Inc's Bell unit, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp - account for around 90% of the market and complaints about high prices are commonplace.

The Liberals said they would work with the firms to ensure they offered plans comparable with global prices. They also promised to allow more Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) to enter the market.

MVNOs lease wireless capacity at wholesale prices and resell it at reduced retail prices.

That idea alarms the telecommunications firms, which say the MVNOs are not required to make any of the major investments needed to ensure cellphone service in what is a huge, thinly populated country.

Reuters reported in August that the Liberals would move to cut cellphone bills and make it easier for MVNOs to operate.

The big companies say some wireless rates decreased 35% from 2016 to 2018 and note they all introduced unlimited plans this year.

The Liberals said that if they did not see prices coming down in two years' time, they would consider lowering the entry and investment threshold for MVNOs.

They also said they could strengthen the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) - which regulates the industry - to allow it to make affordable

pricing for consumers a core objective.

The Liberals also want to change the way the government auctions off spectrum needed for wireless services.

Access to spectrum is awarded to the highest bidders, but a re-elected Liberal government would focus on consumer choice,

affordability and broad access.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association industry group was not immediately available for comment.

($1=$1.33 Canadian)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)

By David Ljunggren

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BCE INC. -0.54% 63.91 Delayed Quote.18.88%
EURO / CANADIAN DOLLAR (EUR/CAD) -0.01% 1.45712 Delayed Quote.-6.71%
ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS INC. 0.21% 66.39 Delayed Quote.-6.69%
SHAW COMMUNICATIONS INC. 0.77% 26.12 Delayed Quote.6.11%
TELUS CORPORATION -0.08% 47.89 Delayed Quote.5.22%
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Financials (CAD)
Sales 2019 23 991 M
EBIT 2019 5 605 M
Net income 2019 3 158 M
Debt 2019 25 768 M
Yield 2019 4,94%
P/E ratio 2019 18,8x
P/E ratio 2020 18,1x
EV / Sales2019 3,47x
EV / Sales2020 3,36x
Capitalization 57 524 M
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 20
Average target price 62,83  CAD
Last Close Price 63,91  CAD
Spread / Highest target 7,96%
Spread / Average Target -1,68%
Spread / Lowest Target -15,5%
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Managers
NameTitle
George Alexander Cope President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Wade Oosterman Vice Chairman & Group President
Gordon Melbourne Nixon Chairman
Mirko Bibic Chief Operating Officer
Glen LeBlanc Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
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