TalkTalk is to offer a range of free incentives to customers in atonement for October’s cyber attack as it unveiled its latest financial results.
The UK-based operator revealed that the high-profile attack, which saw some 157,000 customers have their personal stolen, would cost the company £30-35 million.
From 1 December, every customer will be able to add TV content, a mobile SIM offering an allowance of free calls, text and data, unlimited UK mobile and landline calls, or a “broadband health check” by network engineers to their existing plan.
The telco has also put together a new security bundle featuring a web filter, antivirus software and call blocking capabilities that will be available to all the operator’s four million-plus customers.
It said it hoped the sweeteners would “mitigate any lasting impact of the attack.”
CEO Dido Harding said offer was being made “in recognition of the unavoidable uncertainty, and because we know that doing what is right for our customers will ensure the best possible outcome for the company over the longer term”.
The company was taking “significant further steps” to ensure its systems are protected, she added.
The free upgrades were unveiled as TalkTalk announced its interim results for the six months to September.
While revenue growth was strong, this was offset by increased operating costs, impacting earnings as a result.
Total revenues for the period rose 4.7 percent to £912 million (€1.3 billion), with sales up nearly six percent in the most recent quarter.
So-called on-net sales – those customers connected directly to TalkTalk's own network as opposed to that of BT – rose 7.6 percent between January and September, while revenues from corporate customers were up by 6.2 percent.
However, higher network investments saw operating cost increase 12.9 percent to £245 million (€347 million), causing EBITDA to fall 18.1 percent to £90 million (€127 million).
Capex for the period rose 54 percent to £84 million (€123 million).
In mobile, TalkTalk made 132,000 net adds in the six months to September, taking the total subscriber base to 596,000.
The number of broadband customers, meanwhile, fell by 80,000 to 4.1 million after the operator disconnected 72,000 “non-paying customers” after reducing its late payment policy from 180 to 90 days.
On an underlying basis, broadband net adds fell by 8,000.
Meanwhile, TalkTalk claimed it was making “good progress” in its fibre business after adding 99,000 new subscribers during the period, taking the total base to 578,000.
The company said it had also signed up 262 customers to trial its Ultrafast initiative in York, where it is rolling out FTTP with Sky and CityFibre.
Commenting on the results, Harding said: “We have delivered H1 results in line with our plan and revenue growth accelerated strongly through the second quarter.
“We have a robust plan to deliver a significant step-up in profits in H2, underpinned by the benefits of our transformation programme coming through strongly.
“TalkTalk is well established as the value for money provider in the fast growing quad play market and, notwithstanding the recent attack, remains well positioned to deliver strong and sustainable long term growth.”