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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

Troubled telco's 2015 TITSUP tore into subscriber base

Around 250,000 broadband customers left TalkTalk following its major hack in October, according to research.

Overall seven per cent of its broadband customers left for another provider during the quarter in which the hack occurred, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

However, the operator gained 100,000 more customers during the period, resulting in a total net loss of 150,000, it said. Kantar confirmed that TalkTalk’s net loss of 150,000 broadband customers in the fourth quarter was larger than all the other broadband providers combined.

Imran Choudhary, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Customers have lost faith in TalkTalk as a trustworthy brand."

BT was the biggest beneficiary, picking up 40 per cent of this lost share, found the research. Nearly a fifth of those leaving TalkTalk did so directly as a result of poor reliability – a significant increase on the previous quarter when fewer than one per cent cited this reason, it said.

TalkTalk’s overall share of new customers in the home telecoms services market, which includes mobile subscribers, fell 4.4 percentage points compared with the previous quarter prior to the hack, found the research.

In comparison Sky's share of the telecoms market fell by 1.9 percentage points on the previous quarter, customer as Virgin Media rose 0.4 percentage points, and BT's share increased by 2.4 percentage points.

The October hack led to the personal details of more than 156,000 people being accessed by hackers and the company estimating £35m in losses related to the incident.

Choudhary said: “TalkTalk continues to offer some of the most attractive promotions across the home services market and almost a third of its new customers did choose it for this reason, but there can be no doubt that it lost potential customers following the major data hack. If it’s to recover from recent events TalkTalk will need to offer more than just good value.”

TalkTalk kept stumm stumm when asked by The Register for comment.

The body bases its research on a quarterly panel of 15,000 consumers. ®

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