Virgin Media Adds 1.5m More To 30Mbps Or Above Superfast Broadband Deals

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Existing and new customers are demanding faster speeds from Virgin Media

Virgin Media added 1.5 million superfast broadband subscriptions in the past 12 months, with the number of customers receiving 30Mbps or faster rising to 2.8 million, or 65 percent of the company’s 4.3 million broadband customers.

In its preliminary second quarter results, Virgin Media said that by doubling four million of its customers speeds since early last year, it had helped the UK rise 14 places in the global broadband rankings, overtaking the US, France and Germany. It also said 40 percent of new customers were choosing speeds of 60Mbps or faster.

The company also added 155,000 TiVo subscribers in Q2, meaning that 44 percent of its 3.8 million TV customers are now using the service. A modest increase of 5,000 Pay TV subscribers was also added.

Quad play benefits

Virgin Media Double Your Speed campaign, shot in Kingston Jamaica with Usain Bolt and Richard Branson 26+27/11/11 photographed by Tom OldhamThere were some gains in Virgin Media’s mobile division as well. The number of contract customers rose by 49,000 in Q2, with 1.8 million of its 3 million strong mobile customer base now on lucrative post-paid deals.

Virgin Media said that customer retention rates increased for the seventh consecutive quarter and that average revenue per user (ARPU) had risen by £1.60 year-on-year to £48.80, something it attributes to its ability to offer ‘quad-play’ packages of telephone, broadband, television and mobile services.

“The second quarter is always impacted by seasonal upturns in the housing market and the end of the academic year but this was the seventh successive quarter we’ve seen a year-on-year fall in the number of subscribers leaving,” said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO. “We know the addition of a mobile service meaningfully improves churn and so far around 16% of our customers now take a quad-play package.

“This combination of extra customers and an increase in the average they’re spending with us over the year continues to drive our revenue and performance.”

During the first quarter of 2013, Virgin Media posted profits of £406 million, shortly after its takeover by US cable giant Liberty Global.

Main rival BT last week announced it had added 95,000 new broadband customers during its most recent quarter, ahead of the launch of BT Sport earlier this week.

Of the 500,000 who have signed up for the channels,  the majority are already BT customers, something which is likely to please BT, which is believed to have secured Premier League football rights to prevent subscribers from jumping ship to providers with more comprehensive television offerings.

Business division

Virgin Media Business has announced that Peter Kelly will be the division’s new managing director, having spent the past five years at Vodafone. Kelly will report directly to Mockridge and will sit on the group executive committee, something which Virgin Media says is indicative of the business’s divisions growing importance to the company.

“The company has already made huge strides forward in establishing itself as the main challenger to BT in business telecoms,” said Kelly. “I’m looking forward to taking the business on the next part of its journey, with growth and innovation at the forefront of my focus.”

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