BT Group results for quarter to end of September 2020 published
The Q2 2020 results for BT are now out and for the FTTP addicts the roll-out of FTTP has been declared at exactly 3.5 million premises as we expected. The transition from a copper telco to a predominantly full fibre one is going to be a long journey but with 40,000 premises being passed each week the direction in that respect is positive.
Q1 saw revenue dip by 7% for the group and Q2 is worse with an 8% dip due to various Covid-19 related issues, e.g. reduced income from BT Sport and reduced enterprise grade business activity. It is possible that some of the fairness pricing edicts from Ofcom are also impacting on BT Consumer where the out of contract pricing is a lot closer to the new customer promotional pricing.
- FTTP footprint risen from 2.979m to 3.5m in the quarter i.e. 521,000 the quarter, or 43,416 per week
- 655,000 properties connected with FTTP, i.e. take-up rate of 18.7%.
- G.fast footprint has stayed static at 2.831m, as expected with the pause in roll-out
- 138,000 properties connected with G.fast an increase of 40,000
- 14.917m FTTC connections, with 417,000 are using the SoGEA option yet. SoGEA being FTTC without any copper voice service
- 469,000 FTTC connections added in the quarter, an extra 34,000 compared to previous quarter
The results state that the FTTP roll-out rate is at record levels and with the next nearest FTTP operator at still under 1 million premises passed Openreach is set to remain the largest UK FTTP operator for many years to come. The officially declared premises passed build rate is 40,000 per week.
Our tracking of what Openreach has us showing build rates that average out around the 40,000 per week and while the footprint we have in our checkers and maps is lower at 3,139,894 premises we are keeping up and verifying that Openreach is not simply making things up. The declared figures suggest that Openreach is on course to reach its 31st March 2021 goal of 4.5 million premises i.e. two more quarters at the same build rate.
We are importantly seeing Openreach FTTP in the hands of consumers at BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone. Interestingly Sky who has not shouted much at all about its FTTP service seems to be adding customers at a decent rate and this has only started happening in the last month.
Using speed test data from Q3/2020 (Jul/Aug/Sept) we can gain some insight into the take-up race.
- In New Build postcodes (i.e. 2016 and later) 31% of tests over the Openreach network were over 76 Mbps which remains the same as Q2
- In Fibre First areas 11% of tests were above 76 Mbps compared to 5% in the previous quarter
- In Fibre Town/Village areas 18% of tests were above 76 Mbps
- In BDUK/gap funded/rural areas 18% of tests are over 76 Mbps, a small rise of 1%
- In Commerical FTTP areas 22% of tests were over 76 Mbps, a rise from 18% (Fibre Village areas are now in their own category).
- In areas with no Openreach FTTP, 25% of Openreach tests were greater than 40 Mbps and 14% over 52 Mbps.
The place to sell the faster than standard speed FTTP options i.e. 160 Mbps and faster seems to still be new build properties. What is interesting is that the Fibre Town/Village footprint is buying more of the 160 Mbps and faster options, but there has been a jump in the Fibre First areas and a chunk of this will be more providers selling FTTP.
Continuing the recent pattern there are no absolute figures for customers, but revenue was down 7% compared to the same quarter a year ago. The drop in revenue is likely to be down to the less revenue from BT Sport and possibly being fairer to consumers who out of contract.
82.4% of the customer base is said to be on a superfast service and 2.7% using ultrafast (mixture of G.fast and FTTP). We do get to learn that BT Consumer has 598,000 FTTP connections. This means all the other retailers have just 57,000 FTTP connections but we are expecting that number to grow significantly for the next quarter.
Using our speed test observations again we can give a bit of a breakdown of what services the public has been seen to be using. So for the quarter to the end of September 2020 we saw in order of decreasing popularity:
- BT Superfast 1 FTTC/VDSL2 40/10 and 55/10 39% of tests
- BT Superfast 2 FTTC/VDSL2 80/20 26.4% of tests
- BT ADSL/ADSL2+ 19.9% of tests
- BT Ultrafast 1 FTTP 145 Mbps 3.5% of tests
- BT Ultrafast 2 FTTP 330 Mbps 2.9% of tests
- BT Superfast 1 FTTP 40/10 and 55/10 2.9% of tests
- BT Superfast 2 FTTP 80/20 2.7% of tests
- BT Ultrafast 1 & 2 G.fast 0.9% of tests
- BT 500 FTTP 1.2% of tests
- BT 900 FTTP 0.7% of tests