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BT claims more than one million customers are 5G-ready as half-year revenue down 8pc annually

Jasper Hart
October 30, 2020

CEO Jansen calls results ‘in line with expectations’

BT saw revenue for the first half of its 2020/21 financial year down eight per cent annually as it continued to suffer the consequences of Covid-19.

Despite this, the telco was pleased with what it called a “strong operating performance”, as it reached several milestones related to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and 5G rollout.

Revenue for the half-year stood at £10.59 billion, down eight per cent on the year before. BT cited reduced revenue from BT sport, declines in legacy product sales, and a reduction of business activity in its enterprise units for the loss. Revenue for the second quarter was £5.36 billion, a slight increase on the previous quarter’s £5.24 billion.

Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA for the half-year was £3.72 billion, down five per cent annually. This contributed to a 20 per cent decline in pre-tax profit, which was £1.06 billion. Additionally, capex was up five per cent to £1.97 billion, driven by investment in fixed and mobile networks.

5G and FTTP milestones

Despite the falls in revenue and profit, BT said that its 5G-ready customer base had passed the one million milestone across 112 towns and cities, and its FTTP rollout had passed 3.5 million premises, at a record rate of 40,000 premises per week in the second quarter.

Furthermore, BT’s modernisation programme has delivered £352 million of annualised savings at a cost of £163 million.

“BT delivered financial results in-line with expectations for the first half of the year, thanks to strong operational performance during exceptional circumstances. Customer demand during the pandemic has shown how critical our networks have become, and our significant network investments have helped us double the number of Openreach’s FTTP orders compared to this time last year and have seen our leading 5G network expand to 112 towns and cities across the UK,” said BT CEO Philip Jansen.

“We continue to invest to make BT more competitive and I’m pleased to see the quality of our products and services improving. At the same time we are firmly on track with the delivery of our modernisation programme and have delivered £352m in cost savings in the first half of the year.”

Jansen added that BT was forecasting an EBITDA of £7.9 billion for the 2022/23 year, driven by recovery from the initial shock of Covid-19, sales of converged products, and savings from modernisation and cost saving.

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