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Telus profit lifted by wireless; dividend raised

(Reuters) - Telus Corp reported a stronger third-quarter profit on Friday, as increased smartphone adoption boosted earnings from its wireless business and spurred the Canadian telecom company to raise its quarterly dividend.

Wireless data revenue jumped 23 percent in the third quarter ended September 30 as the proportion of postpaid subscribers using smartphones rose to 63 percent, from 48 percent a year earlier.

The Vancouver-based company, one of Canada's largest telecom players, raised its quarterly dividend to 64 Canadian cents a share, from 61 Canadian cents.

In a report to clients, Desjardins Capital Markets analyst Maher Yaghi said Telus' quarterly results and dividend increase were in line with expectations.

"Telus continues to post strong wireless results, which more than offset the decline in the profitability of the wireline business," he said. "The company should continue to attract dividend growth-seeking investors."

Telus said it added some 116,000 postpaid wireless subscribers in the quarter. Rogers Communications' has said its postpaid customer base grew by 76,000, and BCE Inc, Canada's largest telecom company, added 148,502 net postpaid customers.

The number of new postpaid subscribers is watched closely, because they often enter into multi-year contracts and pay more than prepaid customers.

The average Telus wireless customer paid C$61.42 each month in the quarter, 90 Canadian cents more than a year earlier, as growth from data more than offset declining revenue from voice services.

Telus' net income rose to C$351 million ($351 million), or C$1.07 per diluted share, in the quarter from C$326 million, or C$1.00 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings of C$1.07 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 6 percent to C$2.77 billion, compared with the consensus forecast of C$2.75 billion.

The company also said Chief Financial Officer Robert McFarlane, who has been with Telus for 12 years, will retire at the end of the year. He will be replaced by John Gossling.

Telus said it also added 42,000 new TV subscribers and 26,000 high-speed Internet customers in the quarter ended September 30, partially offseting the loss of about 39,000 landline customers.

The company said its total wireless subscriber base of 7.6 million is up five percent from a year ago.

Shares of Telus were up 2.3 percent in afternoon trading. ($1 = 1.0017 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bangalore and Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Tim Dobbyn)

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