BT Retail as a broadband provider continues to survive in what is a highly competitive environment, this business group within the BT Group now has 4,251,000 broadband customers, adding 177,000 in the last quarter.
The full breakdown of the BT Group performance in the third quarter and nine months up until 31st December 2007 reveals that BT looks after the lines for some 12.2 million broadband connections (LLU and BT Wholesale combined), some 3.7 million of these are unbundled lines.
BT Retail which is the part of BT most consumers will be familiar with saw its BT Vision Freeview/VoD product grow to 120,000 customers in the quarter and apparently has continued to grow to 150,000 customers currently. BT Openzone wi-fi hot spot usage is almost at one million minutes a day.
BT Wholesale is being hit by the rapid growth of unbundled broadband connections in the UK with £35 million of revenue lost due to LLU migrations and price reductions in wholesale broadband products accounting for another £16m in lost revenue. What may surprise some is the news of a five year contract with Virgin Media worth £98 million which will see BT manage around 55 billion voice minutes annually for Virgin Media. Wholesale Broadband Connect, the successor to IPStream and Datastream products, is currently under trial with an expected launch in the spring of 2008. The aim to have the product available to 50% of the addressable UK market within a year of the launch.
Openreach which is the BT business group with responsibility for the local loop connecting customers to the core network has announced withdrawal of the legacy LLU provisioning platform, with all providers now adopting the Equivalence Management Platform (EMP). As this only happened at the end of January 2008 it is too early to see much in the way of a change, but it should make for smoother migrations and product moves and may eventually see LLU providers like Talk Talk taking orders for brand new lines.