British fixed line incumbent BT Group has published its financial results for the nine months ended 31 December 2018, with reported revenues down by 1% year-on-year at GBP17.56 billion (USD23.0 billion). Underlying revenue also fell, dipping 0.9% y-o-y, with BT noting that growth in its ‘Consumer’ business unit had been offset by regulated price reductions for network arm Openreach and declines in its ‘Enterprise’ business. Adjusted EBITDA for the nine-month period under review was broadly flat at GBP5.55 billion, attributed to the increased revenues from the consumer business and restructuring related cost savings, which was offset by lower Openreach and Enterprise revenues. Reported profit before tax, meanwhile, totalled GBP2.09 billion, representing a 20% increase from the corresponding period of 2017, although adjusted profit before tax was down 1%, to GBP2.49 billion. Capital expenditure in the nine months to 31 December 2018 reached GBP2.81 billion, up from GBP2.57 billion, with BT saying this was primarily due to increased investment in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and ‘the increase in BDUK grant funding deferral announced last quarter’.
In terms of operational highlights, BT confirmed that Openreach had passed a total of 1.7 million premises with G.fast technology by the end of 2018, up sharply from 393,000 a year earlier, with 893,000 homes and businesses having access to FTTP technology by the end of the reporting period, compared to 493,000 at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, ‘Superfast’ broadband connectivity (i.e. with a maximum download speed of up to 76Mbps) was available to a total of 27.3 million premises at end-2018, up from 26.7 million a year earlier.