02/12/2015 07:48 EST | Updated 04/14/2015 05:59 EDT

Telus CEO sees revenue growth opportunities in next wave of connected devices

Telus Corp. chief executive Joe Natale sees he big growth opportunities for his company as it tries to lure subscribers from competitors by offering services that link their wireless devices to computers.

"These different service areas are going to be at the heart of how we leverage massive investments we've made in connectivity," Natale said in an interview Thursday after the company reported that fourth-quarter profits grew 7.6 per cent, boosted by an increase in the number of people signing wireless contracts.

"We're evolving into both a broadband connectivity business and a digital solutions business."

The telecommunications company earned $312 million or 51 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $290 million or 46 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Telus (TSX:T) added 110,000 net new wireless customers in the quarter, excluding its acquisition of Public Mobile compared with 91,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The monthly churn rate of customers, or the percentage of people who cancel their services, was 0.94 per cent for the quarter — lowest of the country's three largest wireless carriers, which include Bell (TSX:BCE) and Rogers (TSX:RCI.B).

Operating revenue improved to $3.13 billion from $2.95 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Average wireless revenue per user — excluding Public Mobile — was $64.20, up from $61.86.

Telus is hoping to attract more customers to its high-speed connections, which use more data and drive revenue growth.

The telecommunications company is looking to a future where people and computers seamlessly work together through the Internet, a practice known in the industry as the "Internet of Things."

Telus plans to market a growing variety of home connectivity products to customers, like security monitors and automated thermostats.

A separate line of health-care services is also on tap, including devices that monitor personal data, like blood pressure or glucose levels if you're diabetic.

"Tracking the right indicators can ... help your family and doctor understand how you're doing because the information is made available online," Natale said.

"We'll help some people make some lifestyle decisions around the solutions that might help them support what they want."

In December, Telus unveiled a line of services for the business community which monitor traffic at retail stores and storage temperatures for the food industry. Already the company is a major provider of electronic medical records.

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