UK cable giant ntl Incorporated said its broadband subscriber growth has slowed in the face of increasing competition from rival operators offering aggressively priced bundled services. ntl added 104,900 new cable broadband customers in the second quarter of 2006, compared with gains of 191,400 in the previous quarter and 149,800 a year earlier. ntl, which also includes cable operator Telewest, completed its takeover of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile UK last month, rubber-stamping its transformation into a quadruple-play internet, TV and fixed and mobile telephony provider. The company hopes that its expanded range of products will help it regain the initiative. ‘This has always been a very competitive landscape,’ ntl chief executive Steve Burch said. ‘There is always someone out there offering similar products. Our advantage of course is that we can offer four and no one else can.’
Despite the slowdown in broadband growth, ntl managed to boost sales and profits in the period. In the three months ended 30 June 2006, profits increased 61% quarter-on-quarter to GBP6.3 million, up from GBP3.9 million in the previous quarter, mainly due to the integration of Telewest in March. However, they were down slightly from GBP6.4 million in 1H2005, when the figure was boosted by GBP141 million of asset sales. Sales reached GBP884.3 million.