TalkTalk looks to soaring homeworker broadband demand after lockdown sales hit

Telecoms group TalkTalk has put faith in its broadband deal for long-term homeworkers to help bolster trading as it revealed a sales hit during the coronavirus lockdown.

The group said headline revenues fell to £358 million in its first quarter to June 30 from £387 million a year earlier due to trading restrictions and cancelled live sports due to Covid-19.

Its trading update showed a sharp fall in the number of new fibre broadband customers it added on a net basis – at 67,000 in its first quarter against 118,000 a year earlier.

TalkTalk also said it is expecting a full-year hit of £15 million from the coronavirus crisis.

But it said it was “positive” over its outlook for the half-year, with trading recovering in June and July as lockdown restrictions eased.

It is tapping into the sudden increase in remote working amid the pandemic with a new package offering business grade broadband for homeworkers, with “strong” sales so far for the service.

TalkTalk is now expecting annual underlying earnings to remain stable or grow thanks to the recent rebound in trading.

This marks an improved outlook on the group’s previous expectation for stable full-year earnings.

Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, said: “As with many businesses, we have seen a short-term Covid-19 impact, primarily due to lockdown trading restrictions and cancellation of live sports.

“Revenue, fibre net adds and ARPU (average revenue per user) trends have all improved in June and July as lockdown restrictions have eased.

“Encouragingly, customer payment trends are in line with the pre-Covid-19 period.”

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