A Virgin territory

Rebranded cable combo sets Q1 bow

Virgin Media, the relaunched U.K. cable operator NTL Telewest, will bow in the first quarter next year, the company said Wednesday as it reported increasing losses.

The rebranded combo, listed on Nasdaq in the U.S., hopes to steal a march on rivals like pay TV giant BSkyB by offering customers a so-called “quadplay” of digital TV, broadband, fixed and mobile telephony.

“Virgin Media will shake up the market by bringing the Virgin traditions of value for money, brilliant customer service and innovation to the world of entertainment and communications,” said NTL prexy Steve Burch.

In Blighty, NTL has suffered for years because of a poor reputation for customer service, something it hopes to shake off by rebranding itself as Virgin Media following purchase of Virgin Mobile in July.

Virgin is a popular brand in the U.K., especially among people under 35.

But Virgin Media will face tough competition in a market where the likes of BSkyB are making inroads into providing broadband services.

For the three months to September, NTL recorded a bigger-than-expected loss of £96.1 million ($183 million) vs. a loss of $99 million for the same period last year.

The size of the loss was attributed to operating and restructuring costs following the completion of the NTL Telewest merger in March.

Sales doubled to $1.94 billion from $917.13 million.

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