BT’s investment in sports helped it pull in record TV customer numbers in the three months to September, fuelled by demand for Champions League football.

The operator signed up 106,000 customers to its TV service during the quarter, driving a seven percent increase in revenues at BT Consumer to £1.1 billion.

The operator also added 212,000 retail fibre customers during the quarter, bringing the total to 3.4 million, and said its mobile subscriber base reached 200,000.

CEO Gavin Patterson said the performance of BT Sport in particular meant the operator did “better than expected” in the quarter, with group revenues flat at £4.4 billion.

BT’s Openreach division also saw an increase in sales owing to growth in fibre demand, with revenues rising two percent to £1.3 billion.

The operator said investment in fibre infrastructure was the underlying factor for an 18 percent increase in capex during the period, which totalled £629 million.

Patterson said: “Fibre broadband is a success story and we continue to invest heavily to help the UK remain a broadband leader among major European nations.

“Our open access fibre network now passes 24 million premises and we are not stopping there.

“Market-wide demand for fibre remains strong with fibre net additions up 21 percent as we hit the five million milestone for homes and businesses connected.”

However, Openreach was the only other business to register growth, with BT’s Enterprise, Wholesale and Global Services divisions all seeing a fall in revenues.

Group earnings fell one percent to £1.4 billion.

Patterson said: "Our strategy is delivering and our results show we're on track to achieve our outlook for the year."

CCS Insight analyst Kester Mann commented: "BT signed up nearly as many new TV customers in calendar Q3 as in the two previous quarters put together.

"[However] retail broadband net additions of 82,000 were the lowest in three years as BT came up against strong competition from Sky.

"Its close rival has been offering free ADSL and fibre for a year as part of an aggressive promotional drive.

"Uptake of BT Mobile has been steady if a little unspectacular." 

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