BT profits take big leap as customers sign up to Infinity

telecoms giant BT posted better-than-expected quarterly profits yesterday with the number of broadband customers surging as they took up superfast connections.

The group added 166,000 new gross retail broadband customers in the three months to September 30, a 46 per cent jump on a year ago, taking its total number to six million.

BT signed 88,000 out of these new users to its Infinity superfast service, which the telecoms giant said had now doubled its number of users to 300,000 in the past six months.

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The company said its revenues per user in retail rose by £5 to £335, reflecting the growth in broadband, which helped offset a decline in revenues on its traditional landline telephone business.

BT said group adjusted pre-tax profits increased by 15 per cent to £570m, compared to market forecasts of about £550m.

The retail business was also boosted by BT Vision, the firm’s video and TV on demand service, which had its best quarter for two years with a net addition of 41,000 users, taking the total to 640,000.

Elsewhere, the formerly troubled global services division cut losses from £41m to £31m over the quarter, helped by new contracts with electronics retailer Best Buy to connect 820 stores and also with a large financial brokerage in Asia.

Wholesale was hit by the reduction in mobile phone call termination charges but was flat otherwise, while network arm Openreach, led by Olivia Garfield, who grew up in Harrogate, increased its profits contribution by 5 per cent as it continues its fibre roll-out across the UK.

BT said that recent market turbulence had affected its pension fund, with the deficit rising to £2.5bn after tax from £1.4bn at the end of March.

For the half year, BT posted profits of £1.1bn.