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BCE Inc.’s Latest Move Could Mean Rapid Growth

BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE), otherwise known as Bell Canada, recently revealed that it’s rolling out the continent’s first tri-band LTE-Advanced service. This promising new service should offer mobile data speed of up to 290 Mbps. This is roughly 20 times faster than many speeds Canadians typically receive. It should be a major selling point for users who do data-intensive activities such as streaming HD video, playing graphics-intense multiplayer games, or downloading large business files.

The service, launching August 21, will be available initially in major markets like Halifax, Hamilton, Oakville, and Toronto, eventually covering a majority of Canada’s population by the end of 2015.

While the company is viewed primarily as an income play given its near 5% dividend yield, there are reasons to believe the next leg of growth is right around the corner.

Analysts are expecting big things

Over the next five years, Wall Street is expecting the company to grow by nearly 6% annually. This is in comparison to the last five-year average of only 1.5%. This is due in part to the company’s new offerings as well as a more streamlined business. For example, in August the company sold its 15% stake in the Globe and Mail. Moves like this should help the company focus on developing and releasing high-growth technologies such as tri-band LTE.

This year BCE Inc. is expected to earn $3.32 a share. In 2016 EPS is expected to grow to $3.52. This means that the company is only trading at 12.3 times 2015 earnings and a mere 11.6 times 2016 earnings.

For a roughly 5% dividend and annual EPS growth rate of 6%, this is a very attractive price.

Fiber is also a growth driver

The company is spending $1.14 billion to develop Canada’s biggest gigabit infrastructure project. It’s next-generation, high-speed Internet will be rolled out to 1.1 million Toronto homes and businesses, with 50,000 premises expected to come on as early as this summer.

By 2020 the company anticipates spending $20 billion in fiber across the country to solidify its leading position in this growing market. It already has 3.3 million total high-speed Internet customers, and is investing more in R&D and infrastructure than any other Canadian operator.

Early results show the company is trumping rivals

In August BCE Inc. reported net income of $759 million, or $0.90 per share, up 25% compared with the year earlier. The biggest contributor to increased profits was the net addition of 61,000 subscribers. This represents a major victory against one of its biggest competitors, Rogers Communications Inc., which only managed to deliver growth of 24,000 customers over the same period.

Customers are clearly showing a preference for BCE Inc., which has spent substantial amounts of money in capital expenditures and acquisitions to position the company competitively.

A healthy dividend plus growth opportunities

With its latest mobile network upgrade and fledgling fiber network, BCE Inc. has the infrastructure and services in place to provide for the next leg of subscriber growth. Its 4.9% dividend, which is completely covered by earnings, is also an attractive and reliable income generator.

While it typically gets written off as a slow grower, BCE Inc. could be the perfect blend for growth and income investors.

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Fool contributor Ryan Vanzo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS INC. CL B NV. Rogers Communications is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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