Rogers Communications Inc. profits dropped by 24 per cent in the third quarter as it battled stiffer competition in the wireless market, spending more money on its smartphone customers.

Net income for the Toronto-based wireless, cable and media company weakened to $370 million, or 64 cents per share, in the three-month period ended Sept. 30. That’s down from $485 million, or 79 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Rogers said yesterday that heightened competition in the overall market resulted in fewer net subscriber additions of 125,000 to its wireless services, compared with 167,000 in the same quarter last year.

Chief executive Nadir Mohamed said new wireless players have had “for the most part, fairly limited impact.”

Rogers said it activated and upgraded 529,000 smartphones, mostly BlackBerrys and iPhones, compared with 370,000 in the same period in 2009.

The company said it spent $221 million on customer retention in the quarter, including subsidies on handset upgrades, compared with $148 million in the same quarter last year.

Rob Bruce, president of Rogers’ wireless division, said new devices like the iPhone 4, BlackBerry Torch, and Android operating system smartphones are driving the higher number of upgrades.

The average subsidy on smartphones has gone up to $241 from $205, he said. The subsidies allow customers to buy expensive smartphones for less.