Cable operator NTL:Telewest yesterday reported higher second quarter revenues and operating profit compared to the first three months.
That was thanks to its merger with Telewest, but the firm also admitted increasing competition had hit customer numbers and warned of more shortterm losses.
The cable TV, internet and telephone service provider lost a net 18,900 customers in the quarter, reversing from a net 25,800 addition in the first quarter and 62,500 gains a year ago, NTL said, because of the merger and a cut-throat battle against satellite operator BSkyB and telecoms giant BT.
Churn, or the percentage of customers who leave the company each month, also increased to 1.5 per cent from 1.3 per cent in the previous quarter and 1.4 per cent a year ago.
"Positive customer net additions in old Telewest areas were outweighed by net disconnections in old NTL areas," the company said. "We expect this to occur again in the third quarter due to the credit policy changes we made at old NTL."
NTL, which also has acquired Virgin Mobile as it plans to offer mobile phone service to customers and rebrand under the Virgin name, estimates that roughly 10,000 to 15,000 of its customer losses were attributable to increased competition.
"Now that we have closed the Virgin Mobile transaction, we can really start to reap the benefits of being able to exploit our bundling, branding and network strengths along with new channels to market," said NTL chief executive Steve Burch.
NTL said revenue rose to £884.3 million for the second quarter of 2006, the first full quarter of NTL and Telewest being combined, from a reported £611.4 million in the first quarter.
Operating cashflow also increased to £293.3 million from £277 million.