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9.0 BUSINESS RISKS

9 Business risks

A risk is the possibility that an event might happen in the future that could have a negative effect on our financial position, financial performance, cash flows, business or reputation. The actual effect of any event could be materially different from what we currently anticipate. The risks described in this MD&A are not the only ones that could affect us. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our financial position, financial performance, cash flows, business or reputation.

This section describes the principal business risks that could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, financial performance, cash flows, business or reputation, and cause actual results or events to differ materially from our expectations expressed in, or implied by, our forward-looking statements. As indicated in the table below, certain of these principal business risks have already been discussed in other sections of this MD&A, and we refer the reader to those sections for a discussion of such risks. All of the risk discussions set out in the sections referred to in the table below are incorporated by reference in this section 9.

RISKS DISCUSSED IN OTHER
SECTIONS OF THIS MD&A

SECTION REFERENCES

Regulatory environment

Section 3.3, Principal business risks
Section 8, Regulatory environment

Competitive environment

Section 3.3, Principal business risks
Section 5, Business segment analysis (Competitive landscape and industry trends section for each segment)

Security management

Section 3.3, Principal business risks

Risks specifically relating to our Bell Wireless,
Bell Wireline and Bell Media segments

Section 5, Business segment analysis (Principal business risks section for each segment)

The other principal business risks that could also have a material adverse effect on our financial position, financial performance, cash flows, business or reputation are discussed below.

 

Technology/infrastructure transformation

The failure to optimize network and IT deployment and upgrading timelines, accurately assess the potential of new technologies, and invest and evolve in the appropriate direction, could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results

Globalization, increased competition and ongoing technological advances are driving customer expectations of faster market responses, enhanced user experiences and cost-effective delivery. Meeting these expectations requires the deployment of new service and product technologies that are network-neutral and based on a more collaborative and integrated development environment. Change can be difficult and may present unforeseen obstacles that might impact successful execution, and this transition is made more challenging by the complexity of our multi-product environment, combined with the complexity of our network and IT structures. In addition, new technologies may quickly become obsolete or their launch may be delayed. The failure to optimize network and IT deployment and upgrading timelines, in light of customer demand and competitor activities, to accurately assess the potential of new technologies, and to invest and evolve in the appropriate direction in an environment of changing business models could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

In particular, our network and IT evolution activities seek to leverage new as well as evolving and developing technologies, including network functions virtualization, software-defined networks and cloud technologies, and transform our network and systems to achieve our objectives of becoming more agile in our service delivery and operations as well as providing self-serve and instant-on capabilities for our customers, ensuring best quality and customer experience, and developing a new network infrastructure that enables a competitive cost structure with rapidly growing capacity needs. These evolution activities require an operational and cultural shift. Alignment across technology, product development and operations is increasingly critical to ensure appropriate trade-offs and optimization of capital allocation.

If this cannot be achieved in accordance with our deployment schedules while maintaining network availability and performance through the migration process, we may lose customers as a result of poor service performance, which could adversely affect our ability to achieve our operational and financial objectives. Failure to leverage IP across all facets of our network and product and service portfolio could inhibit a fully customer-centric approach, limiting or preventing comprehensive self-serve convenience, real-time provisioning, cost savings and flexibility in delivery and consumption, leading to negative business and financial outcomes.

Parallel to our focus on next-generation investment, adverse regulatory decisions may impact the specific nature, magnitude, location and timing of investment decisions. In particular, the introduction by the CRTC of mandated wholesale services over FTTP or wireless networks will undermine the incentives for facilities-based digital infrastructure providers to invest in next-generation wireline and wireless networks, particularly in smaller communities and rural areas. Failure to continue investment in a disciplined and strategic manner in next-generation capabilities, including real-time information-based customer service strategies, could limit our ability to compete effectively and achieve desired business and financial results.

Other examples of risks to achieving our desired technology/ infrastructure transformation include:

  • Network construction and deployment on municipal or private property requires the issuance of municipal or property owner consents, respectively, for the installation of network equipment, which could cause delays in FTTP rollout
  • The increasing dependence on apps for content delivery, sales, customer engagement and service experience drives the need for new and scarce capabilities (sourced internally or externally), which may not be available, as well as the need for associated operating processes integrated into ongoing operations
  • New products, services or apps could reduce demand for our existing more profitable service offerings or cause prices for those services to decline, and could result in shorter estimated useful lives for existing technologies, which could increase depreciation and amortization expense
  • As consumption habits evolve and TV viewing alternatives expand, our ability to develop alternative delivery vehicles, which may require significant software development and network investment, in order to compete in new markets is essential to maintaining customer engagement and revenue streams
  • Our ability to leverage new opportunities, such as those introduced by Big Data, which is subject to many challenges, including evolving customer perceptions as well as legal and regulatory developments. If we cannot build market-leading competencies in this field across sales, service and operational platforms that respect societal values and legal and regulatory requirements, we may miss important opportunities to grow our business through enhanced market intelligence and a more proactive customer service model.

 

Customer experience

Driving a positive customer experience in all aspects of our engagement with customers by embracing new approaches and challenging operational limitations is important to avoid adverse impacts on our business and financial performance

As the bar continues to be raised based on customers’ evolving expectations of service and value, failure to get ahead of such expectations and build a more robust service experience could hinder product and service differentiation and customer loyalty. With the proliferation of connectivity services, apps and devices, customers are accustomed to doing things when, how and where they want through websites, self-serve options, web chat, call centres, Facebook, Twitter and other social media forums. Failure to embrace these new media in a positive way, incorporate them into multiple elements of our service delivery and ensure that we understand their potential impact on customer perceptions could adversely affect our reputation and brand value. As the foundation of effective customer service stems from our ability to deliver simple solutions to customers in an expeditious manner, on mutually agreeable terms, complexity in our operations resulting from multiple technology platforms, billing systems, marketing databases and a myriad of rate plans, promotions and product offerings may limit our ability to respond quickly to market changes and reduce costs, and may lead to customer confusion or billing errors, which could adversely affect customer satisfaction, acquisition and retention. While speed of service evolution is critical to competitive differentiation, it must not be achieved at the expense of the quality of our service offerings or of our brand.

 

Operational performance

Our networks, IT systems and data centre assets are the foundation of high-quality consistent services which are critical to meeting service expectations

Our ability to provide consistent wireless, wireline, media broadcasting, satellite and data centre services to customers in a complex and constantly changing operating environment is crucial for sustained success. In particular, network capacity demands for TV and other bandwidth-intensive applications on our Internet and wireless networks have been growing at unprecedented rates. Unexpected capacity pressures on our networks may negatively affect our network performance and our ability to provide services. Issues relating to network availability, speed, consistency and traffic management on our more current as well as aging networks could have an adverse impact on our business and financial performance.

In addition, we currently use a very large number of interconnected operational and business support systems including for provisioning, networking, distribution, broadcast management, billing and accounting, which may restrain our operational efficiency. If we fail to implement or maintain highly effective customer-facing IT systems supported by an effective governance and operating framework, this may lead to inconsistent performance and dissatisfied customers, which over time could result in higher churn.

Further examples of risks to operational performance that could impact our reputation, business operations and financial performance include the following:

  • We may need to incur significant capital expenditures beyond those already anticipated by our capital intensity target in order to provide additional capacity and reduce network congestion on our wireline and wireless networks, and we may not be able to generate sufficient cash flows or raise the capital we need to fund such capital expenditures, which may result in service degradation
  • Corporate restructurings, system replacements and upgrades, process redesigns and the integration of business acquisitions may not deliver the benefits contemplated and could adversely impact our ongoing operations
  • If we fail to streamline our significant IT legacy system portfolio and proactively improve operating performance, this could adversely affect our business and financial outcomes
  • There may be a lack of competent and cost-effective resources to perform the life-cycle management and upgrades necessary to maintain the operational status of legacy networks

Our operations and business continuity depend on how well we protect, test, maintain and replace our networks, IT systems, equipment and other facilities

Our operations depend on how well we and our contracted service providers protect our networks and IT systems, as well as other infrastructure and facilities, against damage from fire, natural disaster (including, without limitation, seismic and severe weather-related events such as ice, snow and wind storms, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis), power loss, building cooling loss, unauthorized access or entry, cyber threats, disabling devices, acts of war or terrorism, sabotage, vandalism, actions of neighbours and other events. Establishing response strategies and business continuity protocols to maintain service consistency if any disruptive event materializes is critical to the achievement of effective customer service. Any of the above-mentioned events, as well as the failure to complete the planned testing, maintenance or replacement of our networks, equipment and other facilities due to factors beyond our control, could disrupt our operations (including through disruptions such as network failures, billing errors or delays in customer service), require significant resources and result in significant remediation costs, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance, or impair our ability to keep existing subscribers or attract new ones.

Satellites used to provide our satellite TV services are subject to significant operational risks that could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance

Pursuant to a set of commercial arrangements between Bell ExpressVu and Telesat Canada (Telesat), we currently have two satellites under contract with Telesat. Telesat operates or directs the operation of these satellites, which utilize highly complex technology and operate in the harsh environment of space and are therefore subject to significant operational risks while in orbit. These risks include in-orbit equipment failures, malfunctions and other problems, commonly referred to as anomalies, that could reduce the commercial usefulness of a satellite used to provide our satellite TV services. Acts of war or terrorism, magnetic, electrostatic or solar storms, and space debris or meteoroids could also damage such satellites. Any loss, failure, manufacturing defect, damage or destruction of these satellites, of our terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure or of Telesat’s tracking, telemetry and control facilities to operate the satellites could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance and could result in customers terminating their subscriptions to our DTH satellite TV service.

 

People

Our employees and contractors are key resources, and there is a broad and complex range of risks that must be managed effectively to drive a winning corporate culture and outstanding performance

Our business depends on the efforts, engagement and expertise of our management and non-management employees and contractors, who must be able to operate safely and securely based on the tasks they are completing and the environment in which they are functioning. If we fail to achieve this basic expectation, this could adversely affect our organizational culture, reputation and financial results as well as our ability to attract high-performing team members. Competition for highly skilled team members is intense, which makes the development of approaches to identify and secure high-performing candidates for a broad range of job functions, roles and responsibilities essential. Failure to appropriately train, motivate, remunerate or deploy employees on initiatives that further our strategic imperatives, or to efficiently replace retiring employees, could have an adverse impact on our ability to attract and retain talent and drive performance across the organization. The positive engagement of members of our team represented by unions is contingent on negotiating collective agreements that deliver competitive labour conditions and uninterrupted service, both of which are critical to achieving our business objectives. In addition, if the skill sets, diversity and size of the workforce do not match the operational requirements of the business and foster a winning culture, we will likely not be able to sustain our performance.

Other examples of people-related risks include the following:

  • The increasing technical and operational complexity of our businesses creates a challenging environment for hiring, retaining and developing skilled technical resources
  • Failure to establish a complete and effective succession plan, including preparation of internal talent and identification of potential external candidates where relevant for key roles, could impair our business until qualified replacements are found
  • Approximately 45% of our employees are represented by unions and are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
    Renegotiating collective bargaining agreements could result in higher labour costs, project delays and work disruptions, including work stoppages or work slowdowns, which could adversely affect service to our customers and, in turn, our customer relationships and financial performance.
  • Ensuring the safety and security of our workforce operating in different environments, including manholes, telephone poles, cell towers, vehicles, foreign news bureaus and war zones, requires focus, effective processes and flexibility to avoid injury, service interruption, fines and reputational impact

 

Financial management

If we are unable to raise the capital we need or generate sufficient cash flows from operations, we may need to limit our capital expenditures or our investments in new businesses, or try to raise capital by disposing of assets

Our ability to meet our cash requirements, fund capital expenditures and provide for planned growth depends on having access to adequate sources of capital and on our ability to generate cash flows from operations, which is subject to various risks, including those described in this MD&A.

Our ability to raise financing depends on our ability to access the public equity, debt capital and money markets, as well as the bank credit market. Our ability to access such markets and the cost and amount of funding available depend largely on prevailing market conditions and the outlook for our business and credit ratings at the time capital is raised. Risk factors such as capital market disruptions, Brexit, political, economic and financial market instability in the European Union, policies of the new U.S. administration, central bank monetary policies, changes to bank capitalization or other regulations, reduced bank lending in general or fewer banks as a result of reduced activity or consolidation could reduce capital available or increase the cost of such capital. In addition, an increased level of debt borrowings could result in lower credit ratings, increased borrowing costs and a reduction in the amount of funding available to us, including through equity offerings. Business acquisitions could also adversely affect our outlook and credit ratings and have similar adverse consequences. In addition, participants in the public capital and bank credit markets have internal policies limiting their ability to invest in, or extend credit to, any single entity or entity group or a particular industry.

Our bank credit facilities, including credit facilities supporting our commercial paper program, are provided by various financial institutions. While it is our intention to renew certain of such credit facilities from time to time, there are no assurances that these facilities will be renewed on favourable terms or in similar amounts.

Differences between BCE’s actual or anticipated financial results and the published expectations of financial analysts, as well as events affecting our business or operating environment, may contribute to volatility in BCE’s securities. A major decline in the capital markets in general, or an adjustment in the market price or trading volumes of BCE’s securities, may negatively affect our ability to raise debt or equity capital, retain senior executives and other key employees, make strategic acquisitions or enter into joint arrangements.

If we cannot access the capital we need or generate cash flows to implement our business plan or meet our financial obligations on acceptable terms, we may have to limit our ongoing capital expenditures and our investment in new businesses or try to raise additional capital by selling or otherwise disposing of assets. Any of these could have an adverse effect on our cash flows from operations and on our growth prospects.

We cannot guarantee that BCE’s dividend policy will be maintained or that dividends will be declared

The BCE Board reviews from time to time the adequacy of BCE’s dividend policy with the objective of allowing sufficient financial flexibility to continue investing in our business while growing returns to shareholders. Under the current dividend policy, increases in the common share dividend are directly linked to growth in BCE’s free cash flow. BCE’s dividend policy and the declaration of dividends on any of its outstanding shares are subject to the discretion of the BCE Board and, consequently, there can be no guarantee that BCE’s dividend policy will be maintained or that dividends will be declared. The declaration of dividends by the BCE Board is ultimately dependent on BCE’s operations and financial results, which are, in turn, subject to various assumptions and risks, including those set out in this MD&A.

We are exposed to various credit, liquidity and market risks

Our exposure to credit, liquidity and market risks, including equity price, interest rate and currency fluctuations, is discussed in section 6.5, Financial risk management in this MD&A and in Note 24 in BCE’s 2016 consolidated financial statements.

Our failure to identify and manage our exposure to changes in interest rates, foreign exchange rates (especially a weakening Canadian dollar), BCE’s share price and other market conditions could lead to missed opportunities, reduced profit margins, cash flow shortages, inability to complete planned capital expenditures, reputational damage, stock and debenture devaluations and challenges in raising capital on market-competitive terms.

The economic environment, pension rules or ineffective governance could have an adverse effect on our pension obligations, liquidity and financial performance, and we may be required to increase contributions to our post-employment benefit plans in the future

With a large pension plan membership and DB pension plans that are subject to the pressures of the global economic environment and changing regulatory and reporting requirements, our pension obligations are exposed to potential volatility. Failure to recognize and manage economic exposure and pension rule changes, or to ensure that effective governance is in place for management and funding of pension plan assets and obligations, could have an adverse impact on our liquidity and financial performance.

The funding requirements of our post-employment benefit plans, based on valuations of plan assets and obligations, depend on a number of factors, including actual returns on post-employment benefit plan assets, long-term interest rates, plan demographics, and applicable regulations and actuarial standards. Changes in these factors could cause future contributions to significantly differ from our current estimates and could require us to increase contributions to our post-employment benefit plans in the future and, therefore, could have a negative effect on our liquidity and financial performance.

There is no assurance that the assets of our post-employment benefit plans will earn their assumed rate of return. A substantial portion of our post-employment benefit plans’ assets is invested in public equity and debt securities. As a result, the ability of our post-employment benefit plans’ assets to earn the rate of return that we have assumed significantly depends on the performance of capital markets. Market conditions also impact the discount rate used to calculate our solvency obligations and could therefore also significantly affect our cash funding requirements.

Our expected funding for 2017 is in accordance with the latest post-employment benefit plan valuations as of December 31, 2015, filed in June  2016, and takes into account voluntary contributions of $400 million in 2016.

Income and commodity tax amounts may materially differ from the expected amounts

Our complex business operations are subject to various tax laws, and the adoption of new tax laws, or regulations or rules thereunder, or changes thereto or in the interpretation thereof, could result in higher tax rates, new taxes or other adverse tax implications. In addition, while we believe that we have adequately provided for all income and commodity taxes based on all of the information that is currently available, the calculation of income taxes and the applicability of commodity taxes in many cases require significant judgment in interpreting tax rules and regulations. Our tax filings are subject to government audits that could result in material changes to the amount of current and deferred income tax assets and liabilities and other liabilities and could, in certain circumstances, result in an assessment of interest and penalties.

The failure to reduce costs as well as unexpected increases in costs could adversely affect our ability to achieve our strategic imperatives and our financial results

Our objectives for targeted cost reductions continue to be aggressive but there is no assurance that we will be successful in reducing costs, especially since incremental cost savings are more difficult to achieve on an ongoing basis. Our cost reduction objectives require aggressive negotiations with our suppliers and there can be no assurance that such negotiations will be successful or that replacement products or services provided will not lead to operational issues.

Examples of risks to our ability to reduce costs or of potential cost increases include:

  • Achieving timely cost reductions while moving to an IP-based network is dependent on disciplined network decommissioning, which can be delayed by customer contractual commitments, regulatory considerations and other unforeseen obstacles
  • Fluctuations in energy prices are partly influenced by government policies to address climate change which, combined with growing data demand that increases our energy requirements, could increase our energy costs beyond our current expectations
  • Failure to successfully deliver on our contractual commitments, whether due to security events, operational challenges or other reasons, may result in financial penalties and loss of revenues

The failure to evolve practices to effectively monitor and control fraudulent activities could result in financial loss and brand degradation

As a public company with a range of desirable and valuable products and services and approximately 48,000 employees, the risk of fraud requires a disciplined program covering governance, exposure identification and assessment, prevention, detection and reporting that considers corruption, misappropriation of assets and intentional manipulation of financial statements by employees and/or external parties. Fraud events can result in financial loss and brand degradation.

Specific examples relevant to us include:

  • Subscription fraud on accounts established with a false identity or paid with a stolen credit card
  • Network usage fraud such as call/sell operations using our wireline or wireless networks
  • Copyright theft and other forms of unauthorized use that undermine the exclusivity of Bell Media’s content offerings and could potentially divert users to unlicensed or otherwise illegitimate platforms, thus impacting our ability to derive distribution and advertising revenues
  • TV distributors including Bell Canada and Bell ExpressVu are subject to ongoing efforts to steal their services through compromise or circumvention of signal security systems, causing revenue loss

 

Vendor oversight

We depend on third-party suppliers and outsourcers, some of which are critical, to provide an uninterrupted supply of the products and services we need to operate our business

We depend on key third-party suppliers and outsourcers, over which we have no operational or financial control, for products and services, some of which are critical to our operations. If there are gaps in our supplier governance and oversight models established to ensure full risk transparency at point of purchase and throughout the relationship, including any contract renegotiations, there is the potential for a breakdown in supply, which could impact our ability to make sales, service customers and achieve our business and financial objectives. The outsourcing of services generally involves transfer of risk, and we must take appropriate steps to ensure that the outsourcers’ approach to risk management is aligned with our own standards in order to maintain continuity of supply and brand strength. Further, as cloud-based supplier models continue to evolve, our procurement and vendor management practices must also continue to evolve to fully address associated risk exposures.

Other examples of risks associated with vendor oversight include the following:

  • Demand for products and services available from only a limited number of suppliers, some of which dominate their global market, may lead to decreased availability, increased costs or delays in the delivery of such products and services, since suppliers may choose to favour global competitors that are larger than we are and, accordingly, purchase a larger volume of products and services. In addition, production issues affecting any such suppliers, or other suppliers, could result in decreased quantities, or a total lack of supply of products or services. Any of these events could adversely impact our ability to meet customer commitments and demand.
  • Cloud-based solutions may increase the risk of security and data leakage exposure if security control protocols affecting our suppliers are bypassed
  • Failure to maintain strong discipline around vendor administration (especially around initial account setup) may mask potential financial or operational risks and complicate future problem resolution
  • If products and services important to our operations have manufacturing defects or do not comply with applicable government regulations and standards (including product safety practices), our ability to sell products and provide services on a timely basis may be negatively impacted. We work with our suppliers to identify serious product defects (including safety incidents) and develop appropriate remedial strategies. Remedial strategies may include a recall of products. To the extent that a supplier does not actively participate in, and/or bear primary financial responsibility for, a recall of its products, our ability to perform such recall program at a reasonable cost and/or in a timely fashion may be negatively impacted. Any of the events referred to above could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results.
  • Products supplied to us may contain latent security issues, including but not limited to software security issues, that would not be apparent upon a diligent inspection of the products prior to their sale to our customers. To the extent that any such latent security issue is discovered, we work with our suppliers to identify and develop remedial strategies. Should a supplier not actively (or be unable to) correct such latent security issue in a timely fashion, there could be an adverse effect on our operations and financial performance.
  • Temporary or permanent operational failures or service interruptions of the networks of other telecommunications carriers and suppliers on which we rely to deliver services could adversely affect our ability to provide services using such carriers’ and suppliers’ networks and could, consequently, have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance

 

Litigation and legal obligations

Legal proceedings, changes in applicable laws and the failure to proactively address our legal and regulatory obligations could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance

We become involved in various claims and legal proceedings as part of our business. Plaintiffs within Canada are able to launch and obtain certification of class actions on behalf of a large group of people with increasing ease, and Canadian provincial securities laws facilitate the introduction in Canada of class action lawsuits by secondary market investors against public companies for alleged misrepresentations in public disclosure documents and oral statements. Changes in laws or regulations, or in how they are interpreted, and the adoption of new laws or regulations, as well as pending or future litigation, including an increase in certified class actions which, by their nature, could result in sizeable damage awards and costs relating to litigation, could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance.

Examples of legal and regulatory obligations that we must comply with include those resulting from:

  • As discussed in more detail in section 8, Regulatory environment, decisions, policies and other initiatives of the CRTC, ISED, the Competition Bureau and other governmental agencies, as well as laws of a regulatory nature
  • Consumer protection and privacy legislation
  • Tax legislation
  • Corporate and securities legislation
  • IFRS requirements
  • Environmental protection and health and safety laws
  • Payment card industry standards for the protection against customer credit card infractions

For a description of the principal legal proceedings involving us, please see the section entitled Legal proceedings contained in the BCE 2016 AIF.

 

Health and environmental concerns

Health concerns about radiofrequency emissions from wireless communication devices, as well as epidemics and other health risks, could have an adverse effect on our business

Many studies have been performed or are ongoing to assess whether wireless phones, networks and towers pose a potential health risk. While some studies suggest links to certain conditions, others conclude there is no established causation between mobile phone usage and adverse health effects. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from wireless phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans, but also indicated that chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence. The IARC also called for additional research into long-term heavy use of mobile phones.

ISED is responsible for approving radiofrequency equipment and performing compliance assessments and has chosen Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, which sets the limits for safe exposure to radiofrequency emissions at home or at work, as its exposure standard. This code also outlines safety requirements for the installation and operation of devices that emit radiofrequency fields such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi technologies and base station antennas. ISED has made compliance to Safety Code 6 mandatory for all proponents and operators of radio installations.

Our business is heavily dependent on radiofrequency technologies, which could present significant challenges to our business and financial performance, such as the following:

  • We face current and potential lawsuits relating to alleged adverse health effects on customers, as well as to our marketing and disclosure practices in connection therewith, and the likely outcome of such lawsuits is unpredictable and may change over time
  • Changes in scientific evidence and/or public perceptions could lead to additional government regulations and costs for retrofitting infrastructure and handsets to achieve compliance
  • Public concerns could result in a slower deployment of, or in our inability to deploy, infrastructure necessary to maintain and/or expand our wireless network as required by market evolution

In addition, epidemics, pandemics and other health risks could occur, which could adversely affect our ability to maintain operational networks and provide services to our customers. Any of these events could have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance.

Climate change and other environmental concerns could have an adverse effect on our business

Global climate change could exacerbate certain of the threats facing our business, including the frequency and severity of weather-related events referred to in Operational performance – Our operations and business continuity depend on how well we protect, test, maintain and replace our networks, IT systems, equipment and other facilities in this section 9. Several areas of our operations further raise environmental considerations, such as fuel storage, greenhouse gas emissions, disposal of hazardous residual materials, and recovery and recycling of end-of-life electronic products we sell or lease. Failure to recognize and adequately respond to changing governmental and public expectations on environmental matters could result in fines, missed opportunities, additional regulatory scrutiny or harm our brand and reputation.

 

Proposed MTS acquisition

The expected timing and completion of the proposed acquisition of MTS and of the proposed divestitures to the TELUS Group and Xplornet of certain assets are subject to certain closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties

The expected timing and completion of the proposed acquisition by BCE of all of the issued and outstanding shares of MTS (the MTS Transaction), the proposed divestiture to the TELUS Group of a portion of MTS’ postpaid wireless subscribers and retail locations (the TELUS Transaction), and the proposed divestiture to Xplornet of certain wireless spectrum, wireless subscribers and retail locations and the receipt by Xplornet of certain operational benefits (the Xplornet Transaction and, together with the TELUS Transaction and the MTS Transaction, the Proposed Transactions) are each subject to certain closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that the Proposed Transactions will occur, or that they will occur on the timetable or on the terms and conditions currently contemplated. The Proposed Transactions could be modified, restructured or terminated. There can also be no assurance that the synergies or other benefits expected to result from the MTS Transaction, as well as our network deployment and capital investment plans in Manitoba, will be fully realized. The nature and value of capital investments planned to be made in Manitoba assume completion of the MTS Transaction as well as our ability to access or generate the necessary sources of capital. However, there can be no assurance that the MTS Transaction will be completed or that the required sources of capital will be available with the result that actual capital investments made by us in Manitoba could materially differ from current expectations.

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