“Positive progress with Government and Ofcom on the enablers to stimulate further investment in full fibre”
BT Group said today it cut a further 1,500 jobs during the past quarter, as it continues a “cost transformation” plan that looks set to save it £1.1 billion this year.
The announcement came as the telecommunications giant reported its first half earnings, saying revenues fell two percent in H1 with its enterprise division seeing revenues fall five percent on “continued declines in traditional fixed voice, lower
managed service revenue and a reduction in low margin equipment sales”.
Overall H1 revenues (the half year to 30 September 2019) were £11,413 million.
The company is moving towards six key regional hubs with leases signed
in London and Bristol, it said in the update. The cost cutting comes after a May 2018 pledge to slash cash spend over the next three years by at least £1.5 billion and ditch its central London headquarters in favour of 30 “modern, strategic sites” around the country, as it seeks to plug an £11.3 billion pension deficit.
Reported profit before tax was £1,333 million, broadly flat year on year; with EBITDA coming in at £3,923 million, down three percent on “lower revenues, increased spectrum fees, content costs and investment to improve competitive positioning partly offset by cost savings from transformation programmes.”
CEO Philip Jansen said: “We’ve invested to strengthen our competitive position. We’ve accelerated our 5G and FTTP rollouts, introduced an enhanced range of product and service initiatives for both consumer and business segments… Openreach is significantly accelerating its pace of FTTP build [and] announced a further 29 locations in its build plan to reach 4 million premises by March 2021.
“We continue to make positive progress with Government and Ofcom on the enablers to stimulate further investment in full fibre”, he added. Openreach capex fell to £1,015 billion. Ongoing challenges (and shifting government aspirations) on full fibre roll-out remain hampered by what ISP Review describes as “a mass of complicated problems”,
These include funding, wayleaves (rights to lay cable), business rates, engineer shortages and competition (“some ISPs still have big investments in copper and are building their own rival FTTPAs”). BT Group meanwhile said full fibre rollout “continues at pace and scale”