"We have delivered another quarter of growth in profits and cash flow despite the economic headwinds."Ian Livingston, Chief Executive
BT Retail added some 146,000 customers in the last quarter (56% of the total from all providers using the Openreach local loop), which means BT Retail has some 6.1m broadband customers at the end of December 2011. BT Infinity (BT Retails version of the Openreach fibre products) added some 95,000 customers in the quarter, with some 400,000 customers on the service now. Consumer revenue from calls and line rental decreased by 6% even with the various price changes, though overall the decrease was lower at 5%, underpinned by business users. BT Vision added 39,000 customers in the quarter helping to push the ARPU up to £337, indicating the importance of broadband and BT Vision to BT Retails accounts.
BT Wholesale saw its revenue continue to decrease, the indications being this is down to changes in mobile termination rates, and the migration to IP based products and continued roll-out of LLU services.
Openreach is the business within the BT Group where things are changing fastest, in terms of what is available now some 7 million homes have the option of an Openreach fibre product, and the recent news that Sky is to start selling the service will increase uptake. Some 178 exchange locations have been recently announced for FTTC, there are the bandwidth plan changes to VDSL2 that will see speeds roughly double from 40 Mbps to 80 Mbps and upstream increase to 20 Mbps. For the full fibre products, there is the news of Fibre On Demand for FTTC areas for launch in 2013, a launch of the 330 Mbps product in the Spring of 2012, and testing is underway on a 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) product.
To add a little history, so we can see how far the UK has come, nine years ago BT was annoucing the trials for Home 1000 (1 Mbps) where its wholesale price was £23, the same monthly price now buys an Openreach 110 Mbps service. The retail price for both is was/is higher as the providers have to add their bandwidth costs on top.