BT Mobile surpasses 200,000 customers ahead of EE integration

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BT chief executive Gavin Patterson

Telecoms giant posted half year revenues of £8.6 billion as earnings remained flat at £2.8 billion for six months to September 30

BT has almost doubled its mobile base in the last three months to more than 200,000 ahead of its £12.5 billion acquisition of EE, which was given preliminary approval by the Competition and Markets Authority yesterday (October 28).

Its MVNO, which runs on EE’s network, was launched in March and had gained more than 100,000 subscribers when BT released its Q1 earnings in June. BT has disclosed its mobile division now has more than 200,000 connections.

The figure was revealed as BT disclosed revenues of £8.6 billion as part of its half year results, down by one per cent on the previous year.

EBITDA remained flat at £2.8 billion for the six months ending September 30, but had fallen slightly (one per cent) during the final three months of that period.

BT CEO Gavin Patterson said: “We’ve delivered a good financial performance with underlying revenue up two per cent this quarter. Fibre broadband is a success story and we continue to invest heavily to help the UK remain a broadband leader among major European nations.

“Our open access fibre network now passes 24 million premises and we are not stopping there. We want to
get fibre broadband to as many people as possible and we are also pushing ahead with our plans to get ultrafast broadband to ten million premises by the end of 2020. Market-wide demand for fibre remains strong with fibre net additions up 21 per cent as we hit the five million milestone for homes and businesses connected.

“We’ve seen good demand for BT Sport Europe and this has helped us add a record number of BT TV customers in the quarter. Its contribution has been better than we expected, helping drive a seven per cent increase in BT Consumer revenue.

“Mobile is another growth area and I am pleased our consumer customer base now stands at more than 200,000. And I am also pleased that yesterday, the Competition and Markets Authority provisionally approved our planned acquisition of EE, unconditionally without remedies.”

BT added 106,000 TV net adds during the three months ending September 30, its best ever performance, following an £897 million investment to snatch rights to show Champions League games from rival Sky.

It posted profits before tax of £706 million, up two per cent on year-on-year, with capital expenditure of £629 million, up from £533 million on the previous.

At 82,000, retail broadband net additions were the lowest for three years. CCS Insight principal analyst Kester Mann attributed this to strong competition from Sky.

He said: “Strong demand for BT Sport Europe drove TV net additions to a record 106,000 during the quarter as the company reaped the benefit of exclusive rights to Champions League and Europa League football matches. Indeed, BT signed up nearly as many new TV customers in calendar Q3 as in the two previous quarters put together.

“The TV numbers drove BT’s Consumer division, which was once again the company’s star-performing unit, with revenue up an impressive seven per cent year-on-year. This largely offset declining revenue at the company’s Wholesale, Business and Global Services units.

“Retail broadband net additions of 82,000 were the lowest in three years as BT came up against strong competition from Sky. Its close rival has been offering free ADSL and fibre for a year as part of an aggressive promotional drive.

“Uptake of BT Mobile has been steady if a little unspectacular, with a total of “more than 200,000” subscribers since launch in March 2015. Following yesterday’s approval from the CMA to buy network operator EE, the company will need to make careful decisions around positioning and branding of its mobile service.”

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