TalkTalk swings to profit after Fibrenation sale

Families are gathering around their video games as lockdown speeds up the switch to more online entertainment, the boss of TalkTalk has said.

Tristia Harrison said that gaming is continuing to grow while the pandemic forces people to stay inside.

“Gaming has seen a huge uplift, whether it is Call Of Duty, Fortnight, these big game downloads we’re managing on a very regular basis,” she said.

“I think gaming with families has become even bigger than it was before, and it really shows no sign of slowing down.”

The chief executive was speaking as TalkTalk showed it has swung into a profit in its most recent financial year, largely thanks to the sale of Fibrenation to CityFibre in January.

Pre-tax profit hit £146 million in the 12 months ending March 31, from a loss of £5 million the year before, on revenue of £1.57 billion, a 4% rise.

TalkTalk said it had made a £127 million profit on disposal by selling Fibrenation, a business that installs the physical infrastructure needed for fibre broadband.

Ms Harrison said that customers have been upgrading their broadband packages during lockdown, as many people work from home, or turn to streaming services to stay entertained.

“I think the whole market slowed a little towards the end of March and most of April. Through May and certainly in June the market is back again, we’re actually seeing quite a lot of pent up demand from customers who are really looking for faster lines.

“I think this flexible homeworking trend is here to stay, which means that the quality of your line and connectivity into your home becomes ever more important.”

Customers have been moving from eight megabits per second to 40, and “increasingly up to 80”, Ms Harrison said.

Within the next 12 months households will also start moving on to “fibre to the premise” packages, which can provide up to one gigabit, or 1,000 megabits.

“We will look to migrate as many customers as possible on to those lines,” she added.

TalkTalk added 605,000 customers in the last financial year, up from 490,000 the year before.

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