Belfast Telegraph

Broadband boost for BT as profits increase to £694m

By Margaret Canning

Telecoms giant BT has announced a 9% jump in adjusted UK pre-tax profits to £694m for the three months to June.

However, revenue had fallen 2% at the group to £4.2bn.

While the company does not provide figures for its Northern Ireland business, where it employs around 2,000 people, the company said there was growth in the fibre broadband market, with around 220,000 homes and businesses now signed up.

Revenue - excluding transit revenue accumulated when BT connects other calls for other operations - was up 6%. The company said there was also an increase in business sales orders, voice and ICT revenues and that daily audiences for BT Sport were up 51%.

BT Sport Europe, which will showcase European football, goes live tomorrow on BT TV. Chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "We continue to invest heavily in our superfast fibre broadband network. It now reaches around 80% of all UK premises and we will work with government to help take fibre broadband to 95% of the country by the end of 2017. 

"Our technical trials of ultrafast broadband using are progressing well; we're on target to start large-scale customer trials this summer." 

BT said it had signed up 100,000 mobile phone customers in the three months since re-entering the market. The telecoms giant launched SIM-only deals for existing customers in March and plans to offer a full range of products and services after completing its £12.5bn takeover of EE, expected in March 2016.

BT also added 85,000 retail broadband UK customers in the three months to the end of June this year, more than half the growth in the market, where its offer has been bolstered by bundling in free Premier League TV with its internet packages.

BT is re-entering the mobile phone market for the first time since spinning off its BT Cellnet operation in 2001, which later became O2. But it will not begin marketing a full range of services to consumers until the completion of its EE deal.

Mr Patterson said: "Our mobile plans have got off to a good start, with more than 100,000 consumer mobile customers signed up in the first three months.

"We're also looking forward to completing our acquisition of EE, which will allow us to create a true digital UK champion, providing customers with greater choice and value."

Belfast Telegraph