Also in today's regional roundup: Spirent preps more M&A action as revenues rise; Telefónica suffers currency crunch; Colt's voice strategy hits sales.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) says its upgraded broadband network, comprising mostly fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) and some fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments, is now within reach of 20 million British premises, and is passing a further 70,000 premises each week. More than 3 million users are connected to the high-speed broadband service, of which 2.33 million are BT retail customers and the remainder wholesale. In total, BT has 7.39 million retail broadband customers. Now the operator faces a critical few months for its domestic broadband and TV business, as the UK heads into a new soccer season starting in August. BT offers its BT Sport TV channels, into which it has pumped a lot of investment, for free to its broadband customers, but the number of customers signing up for a BT set-top box has stagnated somewhat, with the operator adding only 40,000 TV customers in the first fiscal quarter that ended June 30 to take the total to about 1 million: BT will be looking to add much more in the current three-month period. Revenues for the quarter were down slightly from a year ago to £4.35 billion (US$7.34 billion), while adjusted profit (after one-time costs) was up 7% to £638 million ($1.08 billion). The operator recently re-launched itself into the mobile services sector with an offer for business users, and is set to announce details of its 4G MVNO service in the coming weeks. (See BT Embraces Small Cells for Mobile Push.)
British test and measurement specialist Spirent Communications plc reported a 16% increase in first half revenues to $221 million, boosted mostly by better trading conditions and marginally by the impact of acquisitions made during the first six months of the year. Adjusted operating profit (before one-time items) also improved, by 13% to $20.6 million. And the company is planning further acquisitions, Spirent CEO Eric Hutchinson told Reuters. (See Spirent Spends $25M on Radvision VoLTE Unit and Spirent Buys CEM Specialist.)
Colt Technology Services Group Ltd suffered a 2.3% decline in first half revenues to €770 million ($1 billion), mostly due to a decline in voice revenues that was impacted by the operator's new strategy to exit low-margin deals. Profit before tax also fell, by 18.6% to €13.6 million ($18.2 million). (See Eurobites: Colt Cuts Back on Carrier Voice Deals.)
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) reported a 12% decline in second quarter revenues to €12.7 billion ($17 billion), with the operator saying the dip was largely the result of extreme currency exchange rate fluctuations that impacted its Latin American sales. See this Marketwatch report for more details.
Finnish smartphone startup Jolla has struck another deal in Asia-Pacific, this time with mobile operator 3 Hong Kong , which will start selling its devices on August 12. Jolla recently announced a partnership in India. (See Jolla Strikes Deal With Snapdeal.com.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading