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BT sales jump for first time since 2017 after hiking customer prices

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BT has revealed its first sales growth for five years as the telecoms giant benefited from price increases for customers earlier this year.

The group said it was also boosted by more people signing up for fibre-optic broadband and strong trading in its Openreach network business.

However, shares in the company slid in early trading on Thursday after bosses highlighted “ongoing challenges” in its enterprise business, which serves small and medium-sized firms.

BT told shareholders that revenues increased by 1% to £5.1 billion for the three months to June 30.

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: “BT Group has made a good start to the year; we’re accelerating our network investments and performing well operationally.”

BT Group finacials
BT chief executive Philip Jansen (BT/PA)

Revenues were significantly buoyed by price rises introduced by BT at the start of the quarter.

BT, which runs mobile operator EE, lifted mobile and broadband prices by up to 9.3% from April 1, above the rate of inflation at the time.

Sales in the company’s consumer division increased by 5% to £2.5 billion, while adjusted earnings also increased.

On Thursday, the group said the price rises helped the business to offset the impact of cost inflation across its operations.

The FTSE 100 firm revealed adjusted group earnings increased by 2% to £1.9 billion for the quarter, in line with analyst expectations.

However, BT said its enterprise business saw a 27% drop in earnings for the period.

Mr Jansen added: “The modernisation of BT Group remains on track.

“We are delivering and, notwithstanding the current economic uncertainty, we remain confident in our outlook for this financial year.”

The increase in earnings comes amid growing frustrations from many BT staff, who are poised to begin two days of strike action on Friday, led by the Communication Workers Union.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “BT Group are now gaslighting our members.

“Announcing hundreds of millions of pounds of profit on the eve of the first national strike action since 1987 smacks of arrogance and complete contempt for frontline workers.

“Our members kept the country connected during the pandemic and deserve a proper pay rise, and that’s what we are going to get them.”

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