BT hails 5G progress, Covid-19 takes toll on bottom-line - Mobile World Live

BT hails 5G progress, Covid-19 takes toll on bottom-line

29 OCT 2020

UK-headquartered BT pointed to rapid progress rolling out 5G and fibre infrastructure in the first half of its fiscal year, though revenue and profit declined on its pandemic-impacted segments of sport broadcasting and enterprise.

In a statement, CEO Philip Jansen (pictured) said the company had delivered “strong operational performance” given the challenges related to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, as it continued to invest in building-out the latest generation of fixed and mobile infrastructure.

By the end of its fiscal H1 (to end-September), the company’s mobile division EE had expanded its 5G network into 112 urban areas with 1.2 million customers now covered by the infrastructure. This compares with 374,000 users at the end of fiscal Q1 2020/21and just 15,000 at the end of its Q2 in fiscal 2019/20.

The company did not disclose how many of these so-called “5G ready” customers were actually using the network, however.

BT’s H1 net profit fell 20 per cent year-on-year to £856 million, while revenue declined 8 per cent to £10.6 billion, results attributed to drops from TV service BT Sport, its Enterprise division and legacy products.

The company’s fiscal Q2 revenue fell 7.3 per cent to £5.3 billion with net profit down to £408 million from £563 million in the same period of 2019.

Jansen said: “The pandemic has pulled the future forward. The need for next generation digital infrastructure is clearer now than ever, as is our desire to invest and build it. Equally, we have to keep modernising BT and we won’t slow down our pursuit of that.”

The executive added its cost-cutting “modernisation programme” had delivered £352 million in gross annualised savings so far, at a cost of £163 million.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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