In reporting its FY numbers, Virgin Media revealed it is now delivering broadband, video and fixed-line telephony services to 6.1 million cable customers and mobile services to 3.5 million subscribers as of December 31st 2020.
The cable operator has delivered a full year net customer gain of 102,000 as demand for, and usage of, its broadband bundles increased and its suite of initiatives to help customers through the pandemic led to an improvement in NPS and record low churn in 2020.
Q4 customer net adds accelerated to 42,000 compared to a 9,000 decline in Q4 2019, with a 32,000 customer gain in its Lightning footprint and 10,000 adds in its BAU footprint, representing the third consecutive quarter of BAU growth.
In Connectivity, strong customer growth through 2020 was underpinned by 148,000 broadband net adds including 55,000 in Q4, up from 1,000 in Q4 2019. The average speed across its. broadband base continues to increase and was 174 Mbps at the end of Q4, while data consumption during the quarter increased 48 per cent YoY.
Virgin Media says it is now the largest gigabit speed provider in the UK and Ireland with its Gig1 service available in 46 per cent of its UK footprint representing 7.1 million premises and 98 per cent of its Irish footprint. The company said it is on track for network-wide gigabit coverage in the UK by the end of 2021, representing nearly two-thirds of the UK government’s minimum gigabit broadband target four years early.
In Entertainment, during the fourth quarter Virgin Media launched its most advanced connected entertainment platform, Virgin TV 360, in both the UK and Ireland; a cloud-based upgrade for existing customers with V6 set-top boxes will be made available from Q1 2021. Virgin Media says early response from customers has been very positive and they have observed a nearly 50 points improvement in NPS for customers who have upgraded to Virgin TV 360.
Virgin Media reported 2020 revenue of £5.1 billion decreased 0.8 per cent on a reported basis and 0.9 per cent on a rebased basis primarily due to the impact of Covid-19. Q4 revenue of £1.3 billion increased 0.4 per cent on a reported basis and was flat on a rebased basis with an increase in B2B offset by a decline in residential cable revenue
Commenting on the performance, Lutz Schüler CEO of Virgin Media said: “2020 was the year that showed Virgin Media’s mettle and momentum. With a clear strategy in place we stepped up, adapted to change and pulled together to support the country and deliver as a business. As a result, we saw our best customer growth since 2017, with reduced churn and higher satisfaction, as well as a booming Virgin Media Business unit that reflects a series of contract wins and their vital role played during the pandemic. On top of customer growth, we’ve seen increased appetite for combined fixed and mobile services this year– with one in four UK broadband customers now taking a mobile plan, making us one of the fastest growing convergence players.”
“As customers use our services more than ever before, our connectivity leadership has never been clearer. Through more than a billion pounds of investment in our network, we’ve brought better connectivity to new areas of the country, and established Virgin Media as the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider. This has been a time for decisive action. The core foundations of our strategy are now firmly in place with investments in our network, digital and customer experience creating an engine for future growth.”
“Looking ahead, 2021 is going to be a transformational year for Virgin Media and we remain focused, committed and motivated to keeping the country connected and playing our role in helping Britain bounce back stronger than ever,” he concluded.