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Virgin Media UK Sees Growth Again to Top 4.56 Million Broadband Users

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 (8:07 am) - Score 901

National cable operator Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has recovered from Q2’s dismal performance, when they lost -12k broadband subscribers (mostly to students that were returning home for the summer and the decline in non-cable ADSL subscribers), by adding +37,600 last quarter (Q3-2014) to total 4,561,800 customers.

The above 4.56m total reflects 4,464,100 cable broadband (EuroDOCSIS / DOCSIS3) subscribers, which increased by +48,600 in the quarter after a small decline of -300 during Q2. Elsewhere 97,700 broadband customers are still on their slower / defunct non-cable Virgin National (Virgin.net / ADSL2+) platform, which is no longer sold and lost -11,000 in Q3 (level with the -11,700 lost in Q2 and better than -14,400 in Q1).

Meanwhile Virgin Media have also been working to expand their cable broadband network to 100,000 additional premises in East London (here) and 5,000 homes in the North East of England (here), which should all be completed in 2015. At present Virgin’s cable network is a capable of reaching 12,584,100 homes (homes passed), which is up from 12,531,500 one year ago.

But the Homes Passed figure falls slightly to 12,522,700 for Virgin’s so-called two-way homes (i.e. homes on those sections of Virgin’s network that are technologically capable of providing two-way services, including video, internet and telephony). It’s important to note that this information is based on census data that can change through either revisions to the data or from new census results, as well as expanded coverage.

Otherwise it’s noted that 56% (2.5m) of Virgin Media’s cable broadband customers took “super-fast” speeds of 50Mbps or faster, which is currently their entry-level package (use to be 30Mbps) and has been boosted by the on-going double-speed upgrade (download performance) that is pushing top speeds up to 152Mbps.

Sadly Virgin’s upload speeds haven’t been given the same treatment, but this may change in the future. On top of that we’d like to know how popular their 152Mbps products are because no data is provided, although we do believe that around 15% of their new subscribers are taking the service (roughly level with Q2).

Mike Fries, Liberty Global’s CEO, said:

We continue leveraging the scale of our core distribution platform and the substantial investments we’re making to bring innovative products to market. As a result, our third quarter results were driven in large part by record volume growth, underpinned by strong consumer demand for our next-generation video platforms, our market-leading broadband speeds, and our increasingly converged products that provide our customers with connectivity and entertainment outside of the home.”

On the financial front and Virgin’s Average Monthly Revenue Per Customer Relationship has declined slightly to hit £48.98, which is down from £49.95 in Q2. However their quarterly revenue from Internet services stood at £259.8m (up from £255.2m in Q2 and £241.2m in Q1 2014), with total revenue of £1,046.8m (down slightly from £1,054.4m in Q2). The overall performance has been dragged down a bit by slightly weaker revenue from TV and Telephone services.

Otherwise there’s not a lot new to report, although it may be worth pointing out that Virgin Media’s net third-party debt currently stands at £8,431.4m, which is up from £8,104.4m last year. Net third-party debt is defined as total third-party debt including capital lease obligations less cash and cash equivalents.

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