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A woman uses a mobile device while walking past a Telus store in Ottawa on Feb. 19, 2014.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Telus Corp. saw its first-quarter net income decline by nearly 20 per cent to $353-million, from $437-million, and is withdrawing its financial guidance for the year due to uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telus attributed the decrease in net income to higher depreciation and amortization relating to its acquisitions of Competence Call Center and ADT Canada as well as its network investments.

Some of the steps it took to help customers during the global health crisis also had impact, the company’s chief financial officer, Doug French, said in an interview.

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“We started waiving roaming fees so that Canadians abroad would be able to connect … we waived all home-internet [overage] charges so that as customers were locked down in their homes, they would have unlimited internet at no extra cost,” Mr. French said.

The earnings amounted to 28 cents per share, compared to 36 cents per share during the same quarter last year.

Its revenue for the three-month period ended March 31 totaled $3.69-billion, up 5.4 per cent from a year ago when it reported $3.51-billion in revenue.

Telus added 70,000 net new wireless subscribers, including 21,000 mobile phone customers, during the quarter. The figure also includes connected devices such as tablets.

The company also deferred a semi-annual increase to its dividend, which analysts had been expecting to come during the quarter.

“We think this was probably the right decision to shift its priority to assisting Canadians during this crisis,” Bank of Nova Scotia analyst Jeff Fan said in a note to clients.

Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi said he expects that the pandemic won’t have as much of an impact on Telus’s financials as it will on those of its peers, such as BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc.

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“The company has no exposure to media, which we believe could be meaningfully impacted during the containment period,” Mr. Yaghi said in a note to clients. “Moreover, we view operations in IT services and health technology as relatively resilient in the context of the pandemic.”

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