BT profit declines 75%; Fusion confusion

BT staggered to a 75% decline in first-quarter profit, finishing at about $716 million. Though the U.K. telco giant saw revenue rise slightly in both its retail phone and Internet unit and in its global services unit, revenue fell 11% in the company's wholesale service unit, as broadband competition and the trend of more competitors using their own network facilities forced lower prices. BT added 177,000 broadband customers during the quarter, and still leads the U.K. market with about 4.25 million broadband users. However, BT has lost key executives in recent months, and has cut about 5000 jobs in the last year.

Meanwhile, a report yesterday in London's Daily Telegraph said BT had stopped selling handsets for its Fusion fixed-mobile convergence service. The story called the service "a spectacular flop." However, The Register reports that while BT is making changes in the service and testing a new device strategy, it is only revamping the service as it continues to learn from experience. Semantics?

For more:
- check out this coverage at MarketWatch
see the Fusion story from The Daily Telegraph
- compare with this story from The Register

Related articles:
- One analyst has suggested BT is tightening its 21st Century Network spending