Broadband News

Virgin Media sheds 24,600 video subscribers but gains 7,100 broadband customers

The Virgin Media financial results for the period to the end of June 2019 have been released and while lots of the figures are mixed in with the Ireland or other parts of the Liberty Global operation there is enough detail on the UK to see what may be exciting and worrying the operator who has the largest ultrafast broadband footprint in the UK.

The good news is that there are now 5,266,700 broadband subcribers a rise of 7,100 in the last quarter, the bad news is that they managed to lose 24,600 video subscribers. Interestingly at a time when lots of people are saying phone lines are dead and why do we have to bother paying line rental the number of telephone subscribers rose by 23,700.

The rise in broadband numbers is good, but this off the back of an increase in network footprint of 126,000 premises and while take-up will rise over time in those newly passed areas, this does suggest that either the majority of the public are not chasing much higher speeds at this time or they are waiting for someone other than Virgin Media to arrive. Of course the speed the majority of people are happy with will change over time, but experience suggests many people are not willing to pay much more (if any more) for the higher speeds.

The expansion of the DOCSIS 3.1 footprint which is set to start in Southampton and quickly cover the rest of the UK is likely to be less of a response to what BT Group are doing but the growing number of competitors whose Gigabit full fibre service offering will usually undercut the price of both BT and Virgin Media products. The Ofcom research showing that younger people are much more likely to use OTT TV services than traditional linear satellite, digital, cable TV channels means that the unique nature of the bundles Virgin Media previously offered are not the lure they used to be.

Virgin Media via its Project Lightning roll-out is probably the third largest full fibre provider behind Openreach and Hyperoptic. Of course their network footprint at around the 15 million premises mark is massively larger once you add the FTTN footprint with coax into the home.

With the race to 100% full fibre coverage underway in theory, it will be interesting to see what the Governments response will be in coax cable areas if all the operators say that it is not commercial viable to deliver their own full fibre services. We fully expect that the existing cable areas will see commercial roll-out from one or more full operator but there will be enclaves that get missed out. It will all boil down to what is the difference between Gigabit download on DOCSIS 3.1 and Gigabit download on full fibre. 

Comments

Are they calculating something differently somewhere? That phone figure is bizarre. Whilst I have their phone service, I've not plugged a phone in.

  • Cessquill
  • 13 days ago

If you are paying the voice line rental e.g. broadband + phone bundle then will be counted. Whether you have a phone plugged in is irrelevant.

Virgin is one where you can have broadband only, but the best deals tend to be once you bundle the voice+phone or voice+tv+phone

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 13 days ago

Yeah, I get that (I've also got TV for the same reason) - I'm just wondering how they suddenly have lots more phone subscriptions - judging by the figures, either they're listing things differently or a lot of current subscribers have upgraded their BB to add phone.

  • Cessquill
  • 13 days ago

People joining in the newer areas where best deal if phone+broadband who drop the phone once the 18 month offer is over maybe?

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 13 days ago

Those numbers probably add up. I've requested to be disconnected from VM (triple play, so probably counted under "video") and subscribed to Openreach's G.fast which came with a new phone line. Being counted as a phone subscriber is a bit rich considering there's no phone plugged in the NTE socket. I care about the broadband bit and I couldn't care less about the phone. G.fast may be an acceptable alternative to cable, but the "line rental" is just a technicality. VM's plans are cheaper if you buy broadband + phone than broadband alone even though the former option attracts line rental charges.

  • SaltwaterC
  • 13 days ago

I re-negotiated my contract with VM recently, I'd previously read that it was usually cheaper to have the phone included (I have internet only), for me they quoted a higher price for internet + phone.

  • BlackAle
  • 11 days ago

New customers get cheaper BB+phone. Existing customers can negotiate this. You may need to talk to the customer retentions team. I got a phone call from the real customer retention team after I've requested the disconnection from their services and they offered the same price for BB+phone as they offered for BB only. In fact, the offer was better than what new customers get (which VM maintain they don't offer), but I already had a G.fast exit plain in place rather than just bluffing. Despite being a tad cheaper, what we talked over the phone (upload) didn't appear on the deed, so I left VM.

  • SaltwaterC
  • 9 days ago

Perhaps this is why they refuse to sell me 500mbit without trying to ram their crappy TV down my throat.

  • rtho782
  • 8 days ago

Post a comment

Login Register