Sky is happy with mobile plans but has no specific broadband numbers and analysts are concerned despite revenue growth
Sky is pressing ahead with plans to launch its mobile service in the UK, but has declined to give any specific customer figures in its first quarter results.
The company said it added 100,000 new customers in the past three months but does not say whether these were in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria or Italy. Previously, it has broken this figure down by region and service.
Determining Sky’s overall UK broadband base has been difficult in recent years too, as it does not give total figures nor does it distinguish between the UK and Ireland. In its last financial year, Sky added 337,000 new broadband customers and TechWeekEurope estimates this brings the total figure to above six million.
Group CEO Jeremy Darroch said he was happy with the performance, citing new technological launches for its television services and content investments. He also gave a further, vague insight into the company’s plans for mobile.
EVENT: What next for VPN?
“Looking ahead, the forthcoming launch of our mobile proposition will add another major product offering to our UK line up and will give our customers the opportunity to take even more from a brand known for great customer service and quality products,” he said.
Sky told investors that Sky Mobile, which will presumably be the new name for the network, was a “key focus” during the period, adding it had completed live calls, SMS and data sessions, provisioned its own SIM cards and reached international roaming agreements.
TechWeekEurope understands the launch will be very soon, but not as early as next week.
The company will not build any infrastructure and instead use O2’s network as part of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement. The addition of mobile to its UK portfolio will help it compete against BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, all of whom offer ‘quad play’ packages of services, but analysts are concerned about the lack of transparency in Sky’s latest filings.
“Sky’s latest results are of a concern somewhat due to the lack of subscriber guidance,” commented Paolo Pescatore, Director of Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight. “This is in stark contrast to the same period last year. Despite this, the company has made a decent start to its new fiscal year, which typically is its most challenging quarter.
“And the move to ditch Sky+HD for new subscribers suggests that SkyQ has underperformed. It was inevitable and happened sooner than we had expected. But it was a positive move as it now simplifies Sky’s pay TV offering in the UK and will drive uptake of SkyQ.
“All eyes are now on the launch of Sky Mobile which we believe is imminent. The move into mobile has the potential to disrupt the market given its success in the home fixed line market with a slew of free adsl and fibre broadband deals.”