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BT Fusion batphone dials up 13,000 punters

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More than 13,000 punters have signed up to BT's Fusion batphone, the UK's dominant fixed line telco confirmed today. In the last week or so, BT has tinkered with the pricing for its consumer product and also repackaged BT Fusion for small businesses as part of plans to increase sales.

BT has high hopes for Fusion - the mobile that thinks it's a landline phone (or should that be a fixed line phone that thinks it's a mobile?). Anyhow, BT is currently signing up new punters at a rate of 2,000 a week, so it says, prompting it to brag that Fusion has generated "significant customer interest".

And with this week's launch of a service for business users, the telco expects take-up to "accelerate further over the next quarter".

Details of the progress of BT Fusion came as the firm reported its Q3 results for the three months to the end of December.

Revenue was 8 per cent higher at £4.9bn in the quarter, boosted by new wave revenues (broadband, mobility and ICT) which helped offset the decline in traditional revenue. New wave revenues weighed in at £1.6bn - up 42 per cent on the same period last year - and now make up a third of BT's total turnover.

Pre-tax profit before specific items and leaver costs increased by 2 per cent to £568m. Strip out that stuff and pre-tax profit after specific items was down 31 per cent at £545m from £795m last year.

Elsewhere, the number of wholesale broadband lines continues to grow with the incumbent telco notching up 6.9m connections at the end of December - an increase of 2.8m connections from last year.

But while consumers' appetite for broadband continues to grow, BT Retail continues to face stiff competition from rivals such as AOL, Tiscali and Wanadoo. Its figures show that its share of DSL and unbundled (LLU) lines stands at 28 per cent - down from 36 per cent at the same time last year.

Chief exececutive Ben Verwaayen said in a statement: "Broadband growth continues to be very strong with the number of BT Wholesale connections now standing at more than 7m. This is pushing the UK to the front of Europe in broadband take up." ®

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