26 Feb 2018

Chorus first half profit falls

2:14 pm on 26 February 2018

Telecommunications network operator Chorus has reported a sharp fall in profit as it continues to lose customers on the traditional copper line network.

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(file photo) Photo: RNZ

Net profit for the six months ended December was $47 million, from $66m the year before, as it lost 119,000 fixed-line connections. It also had higher depreciation and amortisation costs.

Chorus chief executive Kate McKenzie said it had slowed the loss of customers to competitors offering fibre and wireless service.

"During the half year we continued our campaign to promote better broadband and this, coupled with an expanded field force, helped drive a strong increase in fibre and VDSL (fast broadband on copper lines) uptake while also slowing connection losses to other networks significantly."

Chorus was aiming to improve customer service by speeding up connection times while keeping control of costs and the company was also well on the way to cutting its staff by about a tenth after last year's review, which would reduce labour costs, she said.

The company is rolling out the government-backed ultra-fast broadband network, and said it was increasing its marketing of the network as a wholesaler.

The company is forecasting its operating earnings to be close to last year's $652m and it slightly increased its interim dividend to nine cents a share.