Bell Canada chiefs defended its strategy of continued investment in network and customer service initiatives despite a sizeable reduction in profit during Q2, outlining plans to continue expanding the company’s 5G network in the back half of the year.

During an earnings call, CEO Mirko Bibic said the company is “focused on building momentum back into the business” after facing substantial headwinds from Covid-19 (coronavirus) in Q2. He insisted spending on network and customer care are “necessary to keep us competitive” over both the short- and long-term.

He said its efforts were paying off, noting the company added 34,702 mobile subscribers during the period to surpass the 10 million mark, despite reduced customer activity due to store closures.

Bibic outlined plans to drastically expand its 5G network beyond an initial footprint of five cities to 28 additional markets by end-2020, a move he said will leave Bell Canada well-positioned to capture revenue growth expected from new consumer and enterprise services.

Net income plummeted 64 per cent year-on-year to CAD294 million ($221.2 million), with revenue falling 9.1 per cent to CAD5.4 billion.

Wireless revenue dropped 11 per cent to CAD1.9 billion, on a 24.5 per cent decrease in equipment revenue to CAD429 million and 6.2 per cent reduction in service revenue to CAD1.5 billion.