Chorus slows customer loss in March quarter as connections dip 1%
By Paul McBeth
April 13 (BusinessDesk) - Chorus continued to slow its customer loss as households ditch their copper services in favour of fibre, with total fixed-line connections slipping 1 percent.
The Wellington-based telecommunications network operator said total fixed-line connections fell 16,000 to 1.54 million in the three months ended March 31, slowing the pace of decline in recent months after stepping up a marketing drive extolling the virtues of fixed-line access over wireless connections.
Non-broadband copper lines drove the decline, falling 17,000 to 341,000. Broadband connections rose 3,000 to 1.18 million as Chorus added 32,000 fibre connections to 394,000 and 5,000 VDSL connections to 325,000, offsetting a 34,000 decline in ADSL connections to 465,000.
"The Q3 period to 31 March 2018 was characterised by a continued slowdown in line loss, with strong broadband demand in Chorus UFB zones," the company said in a statement.
Chorus identified connection losses as one of its biggest challenges last year when Spark New Zealand - its biggest customer - launched a fixed wireless broadband product as an alternative to the traditional copper-based connection, prompting the network operator to promote its fixed-line business more aggressively to staunch the outflow.
The company today said fibre uptake in ultrafast broadband areas increased to 43 percent with 373,000 connections of the 863,000 customers able to connect. Some 643,000 premises have been passed in the nationwide network build, and another 45,000 are scheduled to be passed in the fourth quarter.
Chorus shares last traded at $4.02 and have declined 4.3 percent so far this year.