BT's fiber-based subs top 1.9M in Q3

BT's (NYSE: BT) fiber broadband customers reached the 1.9 million mark, up 14 percent, after adding 228,000 net retail customers in its third quarter. The telco now passes over 18 million U.K. premises with its fiber-based broadband network.

"It was another record quarter for fib[er] take-up and there are now more than 18 million premises with access to our fib[er]," said Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT, in the earnings release. "That number will grow further as the BDUK program progresses."

It added a total of 150,000 retail broadband subscribers, up 23 percent, a figure that represents 60 percent of the DSL and fiber-based broadband market net additions.

The telco continues to be bullish about fiber-based broadband. In late January, it announced plans to spend $82.5 million to make the service available to 400,000 additional premises in more than 30 cities over the next three years.

In addition to broadband, BT added 53,000 new TV customers, double what it gained in the same period a year ago. A key driver of TV customer growth was BT Sport, which ended the quarter with more than 2.5 million customers. The telco has made the BT Sport offering even more compelling by winning the exclusive live broadcast rights to all 350 matches each season from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, for three years starting with the 2015/16 season.

Driven by 22 percent growth in broadband and TV revenue, consumer retail revenues increased 6 percent to $3.12 billion.

However, retail business revenue remained flat with 6 percent growth in IT services partly offset by a 1 percent decline in calls and lines revenue. One of the highlights in its business sector was that it won a five-year contract with Adecco Group UK for IT services and supplying the management of a new voice and data network.

Openreach also saw gains during the quarter, adding 339,000 net fiber connections in Q3, up 38 percent, with around 2.4 million homes and businesses now connected.

Another area of growth was BT Global services. Due to an uptick in sales in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, BT Global revenue rose 4 percent in the third quarter, to $2.92 billion, up from $2.84 billion a year earlier.

"Outside the UK our businesses in the high-growth regions of the world again delivered double-digit revenue growth," Patterson said.

To build on the momentum it is seeing in AMEA, the telco said it would hire more than 400 people in the region and launch new service capabilities and solutions tailored for specific segments such as health care and finance.

Overall company revenues were $7.5 billion for the third quarter ending Dec. 31, up 2 percent from $7.3 billion from the same period a year ago.

The telco said it expects that as a result of its cost cutting activities, adjusted EBITDA is forecast to be at the upper end of the $9.79 billion to $9.9 billion range and capex to be below the 2012-13 level.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Earnings summary: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013

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