Mobile helps BT Q1 results ahead of 5G trials

Mobile has helped BT’s consumer unit offset declines in other areas of the business, with high-end smartphones, SIM-Only tariffs and the launch of converged products contributing to an improved Q1 for the company.

Whereas revenue in BT’s business, public sector, wholesales and Global Services units all fell, consumer continued to perform, with revenues rising by two per cent to £2.6 billion. Total revenues fell by two per cent to £5.7 billion, while pre-tax profits rose by three per cent to £816 million.

EE’s 4G network now covers 98 per cent of the UK population, while BT launched its first converged products - BT Plus and 4G Assure – during the year. It also detailed plans to hold its first 5G network trial in East London this October.

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BT broadband and mobile 

On the fixed side, BT’s ultrafast broadband network has now passed 1.7 million premises with 10,000 properties added each week. Meanwhile superfast broadband coverage stands at 27 million homes and businesses.

However BT will no longer provide figures for the number of broadband and mobile subscribers as it has done in the past because these markets have saturated. Instead it will focus on other metrics, such as ARPU, when communicating to investors.

CEO Gavin Patterson, who will leave his role later this year, said he was pleased with the results, adding the company’s outlook remained unchanged.

“We’ve made a good start to the year. We are making positive progress against our strategy,” he told investors. “Our customer experience metrics continue to improve and we have seen the successful launch of new converged products including BT Plus, our first Consumer converged offering and 4G Assure, for business customers.

Patterson welcomed the proposals in the government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review and Ofcom’s approach to future regulation, claiming they represented progress to positive returns for network investment. Meanwhile Openreach is offering discounts to communications service providers (CSPs) for its superfast and ultrafast broadband products in order to encourage adoption.

“We welcome the initial outcome of DCMS’ Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review and Ofcom’s approach to future regulation and look forward to further engagement with all our key stakeholders to ensure greater clarity, certainty and support as we look to realise our broader investment ambitions.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.