TalkTalk, the internet service provider that regularly comes at or around the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys, has finally returned to subscriber growth, 18 months after a devastating cyber attack resulted in the compromise of almost 160,000 customer details.
The immediate aftermath of the breach cost the company as much as £60m and as many as 95,000 customers. The company has struggled to return to growth since the breach, but has managed to reverse its decline with a heavy marketing of cut-price broadband and fibre deals.
However, the company still posted revenues down by three per cent to £1.78bn in the year to the end of March 2017, compared to the £1.84bn revenues it reported in fiscal 2016.
TalkTalk was eager to paint a gloss on the financial results by claiming that its customer base had returned to growth in the fourth quarter, increasing subscriber numbers by 22,000, while churn declined to 1.4 per cent, following a marketing campaign promoting cut-price ‘simple’ broadband and fibre tariffs.
TalkTalk Business also edged up, increasing revenues by 3.4% or £13m to £397m. The company claimed that a big increase in revenues from data traffic more than offset a large decline in voice traffic – down from £173m in full-year 2015 to £119m in 2017.
Overall, the company posted a pre-tax profit of £70m, up from the £14m it posted in 2016. This was largely attributed to the steep costs of dealing with the aftermath of the cyber attacks, which depressed profitability in 2016.
Last month, one of two Staffordshire men pleaded guilty to offences under the Computer Misuse Act for trying to exploit security flaws on TalkTalk’s website as part of a bid to extort money from the company.
The company was targetted by a number of cyber attackers in October 2015 after a hacker publicised the fact that TalkTalk’s website enabled access to a database bearing a 10-year-old SQL injection flaw.
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