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Creased Lightning: Profits wobble at Virgin Media while fibre project stays sluggish

Mind you, they're doing all right on basic B2B phone lines

Virgin Media's operating income slid 17 per cent over the past year despite the Brit telco growing its Q2 2018 revenues to £1.275bn, creating interesting conditions for its newly acquired chief operating officer.

Of the total quarterly revenue, £903.9m came from residential cable subscribers. Business subscription revenue embiggened by a respectable 2.7 per cent, with subscription revenue up £5m year-on-year, from £13.5m to £18.8m.

Nonetheless, operating income was £58.3m, down from the year-ago figure of £70.6m.

The firm said (PDF) it has a total of 14.5 million so-called "revenue generating units", where each unit is a service. So, for example, someone signed up for Virgin Media's enhanced video service, fixed-line telephony service, and broadband internet counts as three units.

That figure is a small uptick from the 14.3 million units on the books at this point last year. Of that number, 5.9 million are cable subscriptions, with average revenue per user (ARPU) standing at £51.11 per month, a modest increase from last year's £50.29.

Virgin Media's troubled £3bn Project Lightning fibre broadband programme managed to lay cable past 118,000 "marketable" properties, and added about 66,000 new connections, thus continuing the heel-dragging we noted from Q1 when new cables installed numbered just 111,000.

Last year four staff were sacked after over-reporting Lightning connections by 142,000.

Virgin Media's new chief operating officer is Lutz Schueler, previously chief exec of fellow Liberty Global-owned biz Unitymedia. He will start in September, Virgin said. ®

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