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BT vs Plusnet vs Sky vs Virgin vs TalkTalk vs EE: UK Broadband Customer League Table

Why do a Broadband Customer League table?

Latest news for the UK Broadband Customer League TableEvery three months, the major broadband providers publish their quarterly financial results for those City types. 

They’re full of dry figures, but the most important thing for us is who’s got the most subscribers, who’s growing fastest and who’s slipping back. 

Many of the broadband providers are on different schedules, with their financial years starting in January, April (the start of the British tax year), or even June. 

So we’ve decided to compare how they’ve advanced over the past three months and the past 12 months, regardless of where they are in their financial year. 

As figures become available, we’ll introduce FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) figures as well.  

Latest news for the UK Broadband Customer League Table

EE fiddles with fibre while Orange burns customers

EE fiddles with fibre while Orange burns customers: UK broadband customer league table
Are EE and O2 competing to lose the most broadband customers?

EE’s end-of-year press release is super-light on details of fixed broadband, either the rapidly-disappearing Orange legacy network or its slowly-growing fibre service.

The tail-end of 2012 saw the company lose 30,000 of Orange’s broadband customers, after ending a free offer which had won 10,000 subscribers in the summer.

EE’s now has fibre broadband network in reach of half of British homes, helped by the fact that it’s really BT Openreach building the network, and EE’s just unbundling local exchanges, which Orange had been doing for a while anyway.

It had signed up 8,000 new users by the New Year, some presumably on FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) with EE, nit just Orange’s up-to-20Mbps ADSL.

It’s presumably the end of Orange’s free offer – broadband with line rental at no extra cost – which contributed to the double-digit growth in revenue for fixed broadband.

February 19, 2013

Virgin Media returns to second place with record year

UK broadband customer league table: Virgin Media returns to second place with record year
High speeds helped Virgin nose ahead in 2012

Rising demand for superfast broadband and a record-breaking year of subscriber additions have pushed Virgin Media ahead of Sky in the UK’s broadband leagues.

Around 41 per cent of new broadband subscribers took speeds of at least 60Mbps at the end of the year, with Virgin’s speed doubling programme now reaching 76 per cent of its network.

Over the year, a record 88,700 new customers joined Virgin Media overall – and its broadband user base grew by 169,000.

Neil Berkett, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, said: “2012 was a year of record cable customer growth, where mainstream demand for superfast broadband and TiVo has led to lower churn and a strong increase in new subscribers.”

Despite more than £5 billion in outstanding debts, these healthy results mean it’s no surprise that Virgin Media is now being bought by Liberty Global for £10.2bn.

February 6, 2013

Fourth-place TalkTalk pulls out of 18-month slump

UK broadband customer league table: Fourth-place TalkTalk pulls out of 18-month slump
Can TalkTalk take the fight to Virgin and Sky in 2013?

TalkTalk added 10,000 new broadband customers and 22,000 new superfast fibre users as it slowly pulled out of its 18-month losing streak.

With 4.05 million total subscribers, TalkTalk’s still the slowest-growing of the UK’s leading four broadband providers, but the end of 2012 signalled a change of fortune.

Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk said: ““We have returned our total customer base to growth for the first time in three years – an important milestone on our journey to become a growing and more profitable business. We achieved this despite continuing delays in provisioning by BT Openreach.”

As well as adding to its overall numbers, TalkTalk doubled the rate it’s upgrading customers to fibre broadband, from 15,000 per quarter to 26,000 in the last three months of 2012.

A total of 52,000 homes now take FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband at up-to-76Mbps from TalkTalk.

“As expected, overall fibre demand among our customer base remains modest. We expect this will continue until the customer benefits of much higher bandwidth become clearer,” Harding added.

“We remain actively engaged with Ofcom and government to promote greater competition in fibre
through a tighter regulatory framework.”

A further 22 BT exchanges were unbundled for TalkTalk, bringing the total to 2,717 around the UK, and helping TalkTalk to increase the number of customers on its network by 36,000, to 99 per cent of its total subscriber base.

The consequences of its long-term focus on fully-unbundled phone-and-broadband customers saw it win 69,000 of these highly profitable subscribers, who now make up 80 per cent of its base.

It also saw 33,000 broadband-only customers leave, while the off-network base shrank by 26,000 to 593,000 subscribers.

February 5, 2013

BT has more than a million superfast fibre customers

UK broadband customer league table: BT has more than a million superfast fibre customers
BT leads in DSL and fibre users

One in six of BT Retail’s broadband customers are on an fibre broadband connection as it continues to lead the UK market.

The company’s retail arm added 200,000 fibre broadband customers in the last three months of 2012, bringing the total over a million – mostly FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet).

BT Retail’s broadband division was busy overall, adding a net 122,000 subscribers – 44 per cent of the UK’s new fibre and DSL broadband subscribers for all ISPs.

Overall, BT Retail leads the UK’s broadband and phone market comfortably, with 6.57m subscribers after adding 425,000 in 2012.

BT WiFi has also been heavily extended, adding 40 per cent more hot spots in the final quarter of the year to reach 4.8m around the UK.

February 1, 2013

Sky takes second-place from Virgin Media

UK broadband league table: Sky takes second-place from Virgin Media

Sky inched ahead of Virgin Media to become the UK’s second-largest broadband provider at the end of 2012, and it’s growing faster.

Not only does Sky have 4.24 million broadband subscribers against Virgin’s 4.21m (three months earlier in its most recent figures), it’s also growing more than four times as fast per year.

With 72 more fully-unbundled exchanges added to reach a total of 2,108 nationwide, just five per cent of Sky’s broadband customers are not on its own network.

More usefully, it’s growing the number of users taking line rental by 4.3 per cent to 3,870, and those with fixed-line telephone customers by 3.4 per cent to 3,888.

In the key triple-play area, 3.5m homes take TV, broadband and phone from Sky, compared to 3m at the end of 2011.

January 31, 2013

TalkTalk stems decline but boosts high-end subs

UK broadband provider customer league table for 13-11-2012

Fourth place was the best TalkTalk could manage half-way through its 2013 financial year today, but it lost just 4,000 customers since the summer as it doubled the growth in fully-unbundled broadband users.

Almost a third of TalkTalk’s 4.04 million broadband users are now on its fully-unbundled network, which gives them higher speeds and delivers more profits than customers who come through BT-only exchanges.

Around 66,000 full-unbundled customers have joined the fully unbundled network since July, compared to 36,000 in the Spring quarter, and 1.1 million are taking the premium TalkTalk Plus unlimited broadband-and-phone package.

Moving away from off-network customers is still painful, however: TalkTalk lost 27,000 this quarter, but still has 239,000 off-network broadband users to either bring aboard by upgrading their exchange, or to discard as unprofitable hangers-on.

November 13, 2012

Sky pushes TalkTalk down to fourth place

UK broadband provider league table

Sky’s Q1 2012 this week was a landmark in its broadband rollout, as it became Britain’s third biggest broadband provider.

A growth spurt of 102,000 new broadband subscribers saw Sky squeeze past TalkTalk with a margin of 50,000 homes compared to TalkTalk’s Q1 2013 results in July.

TalkTalk’s unlikely to catch-up when it publishes Q2 results this month, but will hope to cancel out last quarter’s mild slump.

BT remains the king of UK broadband, with 6.45 million subscribers, but with steady growth of 85,000 homes in its new figures, BT is in no danger of losing its crown.

November 2, 2012


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