BT to boost FTTH and mobile investment, following underwhelming yearly financials

11 May 2018

British fixed line incumbent BT has published its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2018, alongside which it has outlined what it called ‘an evolution of its strategy to drive sustainable long term growth in value for shareholders’. Specifically, the telco says it intends to improve customer experience by increasing investment in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and mobile infrastructure, within an annual CAPEX allocation of around GBP3.7 billion (USD5 billion) over the next two years. The telco also aims to development a single integrated all-IP fibre network that ‘enables seamless converged access across fixed, Wi-Fi, and mobile’. In the fixed line arena, it hopes to deliver ten million FTTP accesses by the mid-2020s, while in mobile it is targeting 95% 4G geographic coverage by 2020 and has set out its stall to lead the market in 5G.

Among the other elements of its strategy, BT has said it is aiming to transform it operating model, while it plans to accelerate the restructuring and transformation of its Global Services unit by ‘introducing new digital products with a greater focus on our top global customers, reducing capital intensity, and significantly lowering costs’. To achieve these goals, the operator has confirmed it plans to move out of its current headquarters in London, while it intends to oversee a reduction of around 13,000 staff over a three-year period.

Meanwhile, in terms of the company’s latest financial performance, in the year ended 31 March 2018 BT recorded a reported turnover of GBP5.967 billion, down 1% year-on-year, while adjusted EBITDA totalled GBP7.505 billion, down 2%. Reported pre-profit tax, however, climbed 11% to GBP2.616 billion. Operationally, BT confirmed that its retail broadband subscriber base reached 9.339 million, up from 9.276 million at end-March 2017, while it also revealed that more than one million premises now have access to technology, and the number of premises passed by FTTP had increased to 560,000. The number of mobile accesses on the company’s books declined to 29.558 million at the end of the most recent reporting period, down from 29.911 million a year earlier, with BT noting that 4G geographic coverage now blankets 90% of the country as it continues to deploy in what it terms ‘hard to reach areas’. Pay-TV accesses, meanwhile, were also down marginally, dropping to 1.738 million from 1.750 million.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), EE, Openreach