TalkTalk losses narrow as households switch to fibre

Broadband provider TalkTalk has been persuading existing customers to switch to its faster, more expensive, fibre broadband service, helping to reduce its losses, the company said.

Pre-tax losses for the 12 months to March 31 hit £5 million, but was a significant improvement on a £100 million loss a year earlier.

Revenues fell 1.3% to £1.63 billion as the speed of winning new customers slowed.

Around 150,000 new customers signed up to TalkTalk in the year, down from 192,000 during the same period a year ago.

Of those new customers signing up, 71% took out contracts for high-speed fibre broadband.

Chief executive Tristia Harrison said: ‘The fundamentals of the business are much stronger. We have grown our customer base in a disciplined way, accelerated Fibre take-up, and reduced costs.

‘Having re-structured the customer base to reduce the difference between our front and back book pricing, the business is also well placed to benefit from imminent regulatory changes related to fairer pricing.”

The company now has 4.3 million customers across the UK, adding 2,000 in the three months to March 31 – the ninth consecutive quarter of growth.

Ms Harrison said the company expects to benefit from new rules planned by regulator Ofcom which will force all broadband providers to tell customers when their contract is coming to an end so they can shop around for a better deal.

TalkTalk regularly finds itself bottom in customer service polls, but bosses hope that, with more customers signing up to fibre broadband, reliability issues will fall, leading to fewer complaints.

Underlying pre-tax profits – the company’s preferred measure – were up 16.7% to £237 million.