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Eurobites: BT Trumpets Broadband, TV Growth in Fiscal Q1

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT has to hand back taxpayer cash; Telefónica doubles net profits in first half; Telecom Italia does deal with Netflix; profits, revenue down at Russia's MegaFon.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) cited its broadband and TV numbers as reasons to be cheerful in its first-quarter results, with revenues in these segments rising 7% year-on-year to ₤1.07 billion (US$1.67 billion). TV is now a huge focus for BT, and it is about to launch its BT Sport Europe channel, which is "free" to all BT TV customers and will exclusively feature all next season's UEFA Champions League soccer games. Overall revenue, adjusted for one-off items relating mainly to BT's pension scheme and its ongoing acquisition of EE, was actually down 2% to ₤4.27 billion ($6.67 billion), though adjusted EBITDA was up 1% year-on-year to ₤1.45 billion ($2.26 billion). CEO Gavin Patterson declared himself pleased with BT's return to mobile, revealing that more than 100,000 customers signed up to the service in its first three months of operation. (See BT Threatens Price War With New 4G Offer and BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal.)

  • On a less positive note, BT has been told that under the terms of earlier agreements it must return tens of millions of pounds in subsidies to local government, as demand for high-speed Internet access has been higher than expected, reports the Daily Telegraph.

  • Telefónica 's second-quarter results beat analysts' predictions, reports Bloomberg, with revenues reaching €11.88 billion ($13.01 billion), compared with an average €11.7 billion ($12.8 billion) forecast. In its domestic Spanish market, the carrier has attempted to turn things around by focusing on higher-spending customers, and has now achieved "revenue stabilization," according to CEO Cesar Alierta, who also highlighted the importance of the contribution of Brazil's GVT, which was incorporated by Telefonica during the second quarter. Net profits for the half-year doubled year-on-year to €3.69 billion ($4.04 billion). (See Eurobites: Telefónica Seals Brazilian Deal.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has done a deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the TV and movie streaming service, to provide Telecom Italia customers with access to the service via the TIMvision set-top box.

  • Second-quarter net profits at Russian operator MegaFon decreased by 6.4% year-on-year to 13 billion Russian rubles ($218 million), on consolidated revenues down 0.7% to RUB76.14 billion. The number of mobile subscribers increased by 5.1% year-on-year to 73.8 million ($1.27 billion).

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) says it is investing £40 million ($62.5 million) in a fiber broadband network in the northern English city of Leeds. Virgin claims that the network will offer downlink speeds at least twice as fast as those touted by rivals BT, TalkTalk and Sky .

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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