Rogers adds close to 200,000 wireless subscribers in Q4

Rogers Communications said Apple Inc.'s iPhone helped boost their wireless customer base, with the company announcing Tuesday it had added 199,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Rogers Communications said Apple Inc.'s iPhone helped boost their wireless customer base, with the company announcing Tuesday it had added 199,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008.

That total is up from 183,300 during the same period a year ago, and was a positive sign for the company amid forecasts that a flagging economy would impact the country's biggest mobile phone carrier.

"Our wireless subscriber results reflect our success in driving greater penetration of more advanced wireless data devices and services," said Rogers chairman and acting CEO Alan Horn.

The company's results were once again buoyed by sales of Apple's iPhone. About 130,000 iPhone 3G devices were added in the fourth quarter, with 40 per cent of those new subscribers, the company said Tuesday.

Rogers, through its Rogers and Fido brands, is the only existing national Canadian telecommunications provider with a network compatible with the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) technology the iPhone uses, a distinction that has allowed the company to reap the benefits of the device's popularity without competition from the other main carriers.

The company released their wireless subscriber numbers alongside subscriber information for home phone, internet and cable television. Rogers plans to release full fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 18.

While the wireless business continued its strong performance, the company's other businesses did not grow as quickly as the previous year.

Rogers reported it gained only 4,000 net additions to its basic cable TV operations in the fourth quarter, compared with 20,000 additions for the same 2007 period, while digital cable subscriptions grew by 61,000 in the quarter, the same as last year's growth.

Home phone subscribers increased by 40,000, compared with 65,000 during the same period last year.