TalkTalk and EE opened the quarterly results season with positive news for their broadband businesses as customer numbers rose steadily.
TalkTalk’s fourth place in the UK’s home broadband market is safe at 4.07m homes, adding 8,000 since March, and 24,000 from last June – its best numbers since Autumn 2011.
EE added a modest 11,000 broadband homes since March to reach 704,000 across the UK, but the important figure is that it’s 10,000 more than a year ago, showing continued growth.
EE happy with broadband progress
Read more about Recombu Digital’s UK Broadband Customer League TableWith a focus on 4G mobile sales, EE didn’t have much to say about fixed broadband, although it’s now reversed the decline seen during late 2012 after Orange stopped offering free broadband.
An ongoing benefit of that move is that broadband income is now nine per cent higher than a year ago, although it’s not clear how much of EE’s broadband is fibre compared to ADSL.
EE said: “We are making good progress on our strategy of selling fixed products across our entire mobile customer base.”
TalkTalk Fibre gaining ground
TalkTalk’s low growth isn’t just a slow return to better times, it’s about the changing services its subscribers take.
The company now has 96 per cent of customers using its own unbundled network, which is cheaper and easier to manage, and 82 per cent of those are fully-unbundled high-profit subs.
It added 51,000 fully-unbundled on-network customers taking both phone and broadband, and lost 27,000 broadband-only customers, including 16,000 off-network users.
TalkTalk said: “Our strong value-for money credentials, improving customer service levels and broad product offer continued both to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
“Our ongoing focus on customer service initiatives has continued to have a positive impact with reduced calls and complaints.”
Fibre broadband is making steady inroads as BT Openreach continues to upgrade exchanges and cabinets within the TalkTalk network footprint for FTTC (fibre to the cabinet).
The three months to the end of June saw another 22,000 fibre customers signed up, just a few more than in the previous quarter, bringing total fibre users to 100,000.
But with regulatory shenanigans in the works to reduce the cost of BT’s fibre, TalkTalk’s in no hurry to push cable yet.
“Whilst the growth in our TV proposition is driving some incremental growth in fibre demand, we continue to believe that overall demand from our customer base will remain modest until the benefits and affordability of this premium product become clearer,” it added.
On the hot topic of internet safety, 1.2m customers now use TalkTalk’s Homesafe network-level home security product, with 410,000 customers activating the Kidsafe parental controls feature of Homesafe – and 30,000 more turning it on every week.