UK telecoms giant BT has announced a 20% fall in profit as it posts results for the half year to 30 September 2020.

It posted a profit before tax of £1bn, down 20% on the previous period, which it said was  driven primarily by reduced earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Revenue was “relatively resilient”, falling 8% to £10.5bn in the same period it said.

The firm explains the revenue dip was primarily due to the impact of Covid-19 including reduced BT Sport revenue, a reduction in business activity in its enterprise units, and declines in legacy products.

As part of the half year figures, the firm also reported 5G successes, with a 5G ready customer base of over a million, and 5G now live in 112 towns and cities.

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Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, commenting on the results, said: “BT delivered financial results in-line with expectations for the first half of the year, thanks to strong operational performance during exceptional circumstances.

“Customer demand during the pandemic has shown how critical our networks have become, and our significant network investments have helped us double the number of Openreach’s FTTP orders compared to this time last year and have seen our leading 5G network expand to 112 towns and cities across the UK.”

The firm reports that Openreach, its division for physical connectivity, is to stop selling copper products – used for broadband connections prior to fibre, to approximately 1.8m FTTP-enabled premises by September 2021 at the latest.

“We continue to invest to make BT more competitive and I’m pleased to see the quality of our products and services improving. At the same time we are firmly on track with the delivery of our modernisation programme and have delivered £352m in cost savings in the first half of the year,” continued Jansen.

“This performance has given us confidence to raise the lower end of our EBITDA outlook range for this year and publish an EBITDA expectation of at least £7.9bn for 2022/23, with sustainable growth from this level forward.

“This growth will be driven by the continued recovery from Covid-19, enhanced by sales of our converged and growth products, and by significant savings from our modernisation and cost saving programme. In combination these factors will more than offset legacy product declines.”