Bell Canada has acquired full control of Virgin Mobile Canada, picking up the remaining 50 per cent it didn't already own in a $142-million deal.

The acquisition includes an exclusive, long-term licensing agreement with the Virgin Group for continued use of the Virgin Mobile brand in Canada.

The Virgin brand has been operating in Canada since 2004 on the Bell Mobility network. The brand will remain independent of other Bell brands, although the companies will share a network and retail distribution.

"I believe the acquisition of Virgin Mobile Canada and continuing licence of the Virgin Mobile brand to Bell will help to expand the Mobile business more quickly and allow even more Canadians to enjoy the unique wireless service and product experience Virgin created," said Richard Branson, the chairman of The Virgin Group.

Bell said that at $142 million, the price represents a lower cost of acquisition per subscriber than Bell Mobility's current  average. Bell also said the deal will have limited impact on Bell Wireless financial results this year.

The Virgin Mobile announcement came on the same day that Bell Canada parent BCE Inc. reported a $377-million first-quarter profit, up from $258 million year-over-year.

BCE's operating revenues slipped to $4.34 billion from $4.36 billion.

"The softer economy has led to more cautious consumer spending and reduced business investment," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

Cope said increased video, residential internet and wireless postpaid customer additions, and improved revenue per household helped the company's results.