BT gets boost from EE’s mobile and SMB businesses as it snaps up 79 percent of all new broadband connections on Openreach in past quarter
BT now has 4.3 million superfast broadband customers and 16.7 million 4G subscribers as its rollout of fibre and integration of EE both continued.
The Openreach fibre network is now accessible to 25 million UK homes and businesses, of which 6.2 million have an active subscription – a quarter. The fibre market grew by 333,000, 15 percent than last year, because more people switched providers.
In total, the British broadband market (both copper and fibre) grew by 95,000 connections in the first quarter of 2016, of which BT snapped up 79,000.
Across EE and the BT Mobile mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and EE, which it bought for £12.5 billion earlier this year, BT has 30.3 million mobile customers and at the end of June had 97 percent 4G coverage in terms of population. Newly installed EE CEO Marc Allegra has outlined his plans to deliver 4G coverage for 95 percent of the UK’s landmass by the end of the decade.
Group CEO Gavin Patterson said BT was making good progress in integrating the mobile operator, and the business helped consumer revenue increase by 9 percent to £1.2 billion. EE’s SMB customers also offset declines in the business and public sector division, which reported an 18 percent rise in revenue.
“Our integration of EE is progressing well, alongside our business reorganisation that took effect on 1 April,” he said. “EE performed strongly, both financially and commercially, and our customers are seeing the initial benefits of our acquisition with BT Sport now available to EE pay monthly customers.”
BT Global Services reported a five percent increase in revenue to £1.2 billion, boosted by new contract wins from International Airlines Group, Michelin and Alstom, but not even EE could stop BT’s wholesale division from recorded a ten percent slide in income to £518 million.
Total revenues increased by 32 percent to £5.8 billion and pre-tax profits were up 13 percent to £717 million – although again, these benefited from EE’s streams of income.
BT expects fibre coverage to reach 95 percent by the end of 2017, as does the government, and the company said it welcomed the decision taken by Ofcom not to separate Openreach. It also expects Brexit to have no impact on the firm’s immediate fortunes and it has not altered its forecast.
“Our investment plans remain central to our future and so we will be rolling out further fibre in the coming months, as well as 4G through the Emergency Services Network contract,” added Patterson. “Our aim is to make these services as universally available as we can, whilst also deploying a new generation of ultrafast broadband. Such investment requires regulatory clarity, particularly in these uncertain times.
“Having listened to Ofcom and industry, we have set out our proposals for greater independence and transparency for Openreach. Our proposals can form the basis for a fair, proportionate and sustainable regulatory settlement and we believe they can also enable Ofcom to bring its Digital Communications Review to a speedier conclusion. We will continue to engage with Ofcom over the coming months.”