TalkTalk chief Dido Harding pushes to split BT and Openreach as profit rises

Caitlin Morrison
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Talk Talk boss Dido Harding pocketed over £1m yesterday
TalkTalk boss Dido Harding renewed her calls for the regulator to force BT to sell its telecoms network division Openreach yesterday, and said more competition in the market would lead to further investment.
Harding made the comments while discussing TalkTalk’s results for the year to 31 March, which showed a 3.2 per cent rise in profit before tax, from £31m to £32m. Revenue increased by 3.9 per cent to £1.8bn.
Customer numbers were up across all divisions, with fibre up 131 per cent and mobile up 63 per cent. “This year has been all about growth,” said Harding. “Fundamentally it’s because we’re the right price and we’re offering value.”
And Harding also used yesterday’s results announcement to clear up speculation that has been widespread over recent days: “We are definitely not buying Tesco Mobile.”
Instead, she said the group was aiming to build its quad play proposition by growing organically: “We can aquire customers much more cheaply that way.”
She added that she was “delighted” that Ofcom is conducting a strategic review of the UK telecoms sector.
“We are calling on the regulator to separate Openreach from BT – it would be much better for the market,” she said. “The problem is that Openreach’s record of service is pretty shocking, and we think they overcharge for their wholesale fibre product.”
Meanwhile, Harding made a personal gain from the company’s good performance yesterday. She sold over 307,377 shares in the company at £3.7935 per share, netting her around £1.17m.
Shares in TalkTalk were up by 5.75 per cent yesterday.

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