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Virgin ups subscriber numbers

Spat with BSkyB takes toll on cable company

U.K. cable giant Virgin Media upped its subscriber base by just 2,200 in the second quarter as its spat with satcaster BSkyB took a toll on growth.

According to Virgin’s estimates, some 40,000 customers quit its TV service after BSkyB withdrew its basic channels, including Sky One and Sky News, from Virgin cable on March 1.

But Virgin chief operating officer Neil Berkett declared himself happy that the cabler had signed up enough new customers to offset the lost ones. Virgin had predicted its subscriber base would shrink in the second quarter.

Virgin’s operations span cable TV, broadband, home telephone and mobile phones. It added 51,000 broadband customers to reach 3.5 million, maintaining its position as the U.K.’s largest residential provider.

Operating profits rose 3% from the first quarter to £315 million ($642 million). Operating income was $6.1 million compared with a loss of $31.2 million in the first quarter.

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