Sunday 22 July 2018

Virgin Media Ireland gains broadband and mobile users but loses at TV

CEO Virgin Media Ireland Tony Hanway
CEO Virgin Media Ireland Tony Hanway
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Virgin Media has seen the number of people using its broadband and mobile service rise, but it has recorded a further decline in its television business.

The company has posted quarterly figures showing an increase of almost 9,000 people using its broadband services. In all, it now has 372,000 broadband customers. It has also reported 50,000 mobile phone customers for a service it started under two years ago.

However, Virgin saw a further decline in its television customer base, losing 12,000 TV subscribers over the last 12 months. It now has under 300,000 television customers (292,700) for the first time in many years, under half the number of TV subscribers aligned to arch-rival Sky.

The company recently announced that it would rebrand TV3 as Virgin Media Television later this year.

Executives at the firm recently indicated that they have little interest in acquiring iD Mobile, the struggling mobile operator put up for sale by Dixons Carphone.

Virgin is eyeing high-speed broadband expansion that could take it to almost a million Irish homes over the next three years.

Executives at the firm - which mostly operates in cities - told they want to extend its network into regional towns.

It is also predicting a doubling of broadband speeds on its network to around 1,000Mbs within the next four years, which make it competitive with new fibre networks being planned by rival firms.

However, Virgin says it will not co-operate with other broadband firms in renting out its own network or offering retail competition on the networks of other operators.

“2017 was another year of progress for the Virgin Media brand in Ireland,” said Paul Farrell, commercial vice president at Virgin Media.

“Cable revenues excluding broadcast advanced 2pc year on year and we ended the year with total subscriptions of 1,021,200. Growth was underpinned by mobile, business to business and our ongoing network investments where we connected a further 42,700 premises.

"Our multi-year network expansion programme, Project Lightning, is bringing Ireland’s fastest broadband and the best connected entertainment experience to more and more customers in towns and cities across the country. Virgin Mobile continues to grow, with 50,000 mobile customers now enjoying, great value, contract flexibility and the best smartphones on the market.”

Virgin Media was recently adjudged by Ookla, a network measurement company, to have the fastest average broadband speeds in Ireland.

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