C&W bull(dog)ish about LLU

Full commercial launch set for summer

Cable & Wireless (C&W) is ramping up investment in local loop unbundling (LLU) and is preparing for a full commercial launch by the middle of the year.

In a trading update today the UK telco reports that it had installed its kit in 68 telephone exchanges with another 317 in the pipeline, as of by the end of December.

C&W's LLU ambitions were fuelled by last year's acquisition of LLU ISP Bulldog Communications for £18.6m. C&W is one of a number of operators currently investing in LLU, encouraged by hefty price reductions for LLU costs and also by a regulator keen to promote broadband competition.

C&W chief exec Francesco Caio is "encouraged by the response within our London market and will be ready to move to a full commercial launch by mid 2005, when we intend to report key metrics on Bulldog Communication's development. This is in line with our initial plan to unbundle 400 exchanges by the end of 2005."

Revenues for the three months to the end of December were £808m, down 1 per cent on the previous quarter. Revenue in the UK dipped four per cent to £390m compared to the previous three months.

The company says that reorganisation of its UK business is progressing and that costs have been cut, largely due to the 600 job losses announced in November. The telco continues to cut overheads and this "remains a focus" for the company.

Revenues for C&W's international telcos in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Panama, and the Middle East - rose 4 per cent to £306m. The company is still assessing the trading impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami on its Maldives business but reported that "at this stage we do not expect it to be large".

Shares in C&W were up 7.25p (6.43 per cent) at 120p in early trading. ®

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