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Virgin Media notches up record start to 2016

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Telecoms giant Virgin Media said it notched up a record start to the new year as a jump in broadband customers helped offset a further hit to its TV arm after recent price increases.

The group, which was bought by Liberty Global in 2013, said it added 55,000 customers on a net basis – those joining less those leaving – in the first three months of 2016 in its best ever performance.

It thanked a broadband marketing push over the winter for boosting customer growth, while it also saw fewer customers leaving the business.

The group more than doubled the number of new internet customers to 67,000 in the quarter, while it also hailed a strong performance from its mobile arm as it added a net 46,600 contract customers in the UK and Ireland, against 18,800 a year earlier.

It continued to lose TV customers after last year’s move to raise the price of its TV XL package by £3 to recoup some of the increased costs of sports rights, which include live Premier League football.

But Virgin Media said it had begun to see a turnaround, with the numbers of customers quitting the group easing to 17,900 against 25,600 a year earlier.

Overall underlying earnings rose by 4% year-on-year to £520m in the first quarter.

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