TalkTalk gains LLU customers, but loses off-net customers
The preliminary results for the quarter and year ending 31st March 2012 have been released by TalkTalk. The group saw a net drop in customer numbers of 13,000, giving a total broadband customer base of 4.07 million with an ARPU of £25.60 among its broadband customer. Interestingly the proportion opting for the Plus (unlimited) option increased by 117,000 in the last quarter to 1 million.
The loss of 13,000 customers is tempered once you look into which customers actually left, the provider lost 23,000 SMPF (shared LLU) customers and a further 90,000 who connected via the BT Wholesale IPStream network. These loses were almost balanced by the 100,000 new MPF (full LLU) additions. With the fully unbundled customers representing a better revenue stream compared to the shared LLU and IPStream customers, while those customers also get a cheaper service. The LLU network now reaches some 91% of UK households, with TalkTalk looking to grow it to 93% in the next year.
TalkTalk grew the numbers taking its 40 Mbps fibre service to 9,000 customers, and is taking pre-registration for the 80 Mbps service. The £15 extra on top of the standard Essentials and Plus fee is described as a competitive proposition and is apparently incrementally profitable for TalkTalk. The reason given for the low take-up is that with an average download speed of 7 to 8 Mbps on their ADSL2+ network, TalkTalk suspect this is satisfying most customers' present requirements.
TalkTalk has a five year plan in place that will apparently see network capacity increase 100 fold, ensuring the network continues to scale for video and cloud based services.
TalkTalk has launched its HomeSafe parental controls in the last year, which give consumers an Active Choice as to what types of sites can be blocked at the network level. 92,000 customers turned on one or more of the filtering options in the last quarter, meaning 320,000 have opted to use the system. We would expect those numbers to continue to increase as the press coverage of parental controls and the availability of the system to existing customers is promoted. The categories of websites most often selected for blocking in descending order were:
- Suicide & Self-Harm
- Violence & Weapons
- Drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol
- Gaming Websites
- Social Networking