Wednesday, November 2, 2005

ntl Cites Demand for Triple Play Services

ntl reported Q3 revenue of GBP 482.7 million, down 3.2% compared to the prior year period due to lower business revenue.

Consumer revenue in the third quarter was GBP 377.5 million, with strong broadband revenue offsetting lower revenue in telephony and TV. Net residential customers increased by 53,900 (41,400 on-net) to end the quarter with 3.32 million customers (3.10 million on-net), a 6.9% increase over Q3 2004 (2.8% on-net).

ntl added 140,500 net RGUs (121,300 on-net), ending the quarter with 6.32 million RGUs (6.09 million on-net), a 7.0% increase over Q3 2004 (4.5% on-net). On-net RGUs per customer improved to 1.96, up from 1.93 in the same period last year. This strong performance reflects the success of targeted offers and bundled packages with superior value over standalone offers. As expected, churn was up sequentially due to seasonality and is expected to return to customary ranges in the fourth quarter. Strong RGU growth, particularly in broadband, which increased by 484,400 or 41.2% (372,800 on-net or 31.8%) compared to the same period last year, was offset by weakness in telephony revenue, which was down due to reduced usage, and lower TV revenue resulting from fewer Sky premium subscribers and lower second set-top box revenue.

Over the past two quarters ntl has increased subscribers in telephony, broadband and DTV, adding 16,300 telephony RGUs (26,900 on-net) and 21,400 DTV RGUs, which were offset by a decline of 41,400 ATV RGUs. More significantly, ntl added 277,400 (221,400 on-net) broadband RGUs, bringing total broadband customer base to 1.72 million (1.55 million on-net), the largest of any residential broadband provider in the U.K.

Customers taking all three services increased 21.1% cent from the third quarter of last year, and 8.4% sequentially, bringing triple customer penetration to 27.2% on-net.

VoD deployment continues on schedule and ntl anticipates the service will be available to 600,000 customers by year-end. During the quarter ntl secured an additional 242 hours of programming content ranging from movies to music. In addition ntl has also launched a new TV Hits VoD service, offering over 50 hours of hit TV shows from the past.

Commenting on the results, Simon Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of ntl, said: "As we have intensified our focus on RGU growth and triple-play penetration, with an increased emphasis on quality and value of acquisitions, we are delivering more services at the point of sale than at any time in our history. Complemented by our cross-sell and up-sell initiatives, this has yielded an additional 147,100 triple-play customers, which bodes well for revenue and ARPU growth in subsequent periods.

Total broadband growth of 484,400 and on-net growth of 372,800 over the past 12 months have been particularly strong and we are upping our guidance for on-net broadband growth in 2005 from 20-25 percent to 25-30 per cent."

  • Last month, ntl confirmed plans to acquire Telewest for GBP 3.4 billion ($6 billion), creating the UK's second largest communications company with a cable footprint covering more than 50% of the nation's households. The combined company will have nearly 5 million customers, including 2.5 million residential broadband subscribers and the second largest fixed telephony supplier with 4.3 million subscribers. The companies said their merger would allow an accelerated deployment of next generation services, including HDTV, VOD and VoIP.


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