TalkTalk steadied the ship in the three months to the end of March, with flat growth and reduced churn of just 1.3 percent – a record low for the company.
The rally ensured it hit targets for the year, with sales up 2.4 percent to £1.8 billion and EBITDA climbing 6.1 percent to £260 million.
However, profit more than halved to £14 million as a consequence of the cyber attack on its business in October, which shaved £42 million in one-off costs from its balance sheet as it sought to respond to customers and halt churn.
The October cyber attack also impacted TalkTalk’s subscriber base, with 95,000 customers quitting and sales slowing dramatically in the aftermath as it struggled to reassert its buoyancy.
Flat net additions in the last quarter, allied to natural attrition of 16,000 customers in the previous three, plus the disconnection of 72,000 non-paying customers following a change in credit terms, meant TalkTalk’s base finished just shy of four million, down from 4.2 million at the end of its last financial year.
TalkTalk added 225,000 net new fibre customers during the year, taking its total to 704,000, while 235,000 mobile customers joined, bringing its total base to 699,000.
The company put its performance since Christmas down to better customer retention and the effectiveness of its transformation strategy.
It said its simplification programme has delivered £21 million in savings already, and will achieve a further £35 million in the next 12 months.
TalkTalk business saw revenues for the year up five percent as demand for data services offset a more than 16 percent decline in voice revenues.
TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding (pictured) said: “There has never been a clearer space for a trusted value champion and our learnings and experience since the cyber attack have helped to focus our plans for the year ahead.
“We see strong opportunities for growth across all our products, both for consumers and for businesses, against the backdrop of an increasingly supportive regulatory environment.”
TalkTalk restated its guidance for this financial year of modest revenue growth and EBITDA at £320-£360 million.
Mapping the road ahead, the company said it expects to start to migrate its mobile customers from the Vodafone to the O2 network, in line with its new MVNO arrangement with the latter, in the autumn, with customers able to take advantage of its better commercial terms 12 months from now.
The O2 arrangement will also see TalkTalk take more control of customers’ mobile experience, allowing for real-time traffic management and better-integrated multi-play offers.
It will also allow TalkTalk to roll out femto cells across its fixed line base to create better mobile coverage indoors.