Britain's BT, riding high after receiving the go-ahead to buy mobile operator EE, today beat market expectations for second quarter sales, helped by demand for its TV offer now showing Champions League soccer. 

The telecoms group said it had added a record 106,000 TV customers in the quarter, during which it started showing Europe's premier soccer competition. 

BT's chief executive Gavin Patterson said the contribution from its BT Sports Europe channel had been better than expected, and had helped drive a 7% increase in revenue at the group's consumer division. 

He also said demand for fibre broadband connections remained strong, with net additions up 21%, and its mobile customer base rose to more than 200,000, before it buys EE from Orange and Deutsche Telekom.

The deal, provisionally approved by the UK competition watchdog, will strengthen BT's ability to offer bundled services to customers. 

BT posted revenue of £4.38 billion for the quarter, beating analyst forecasts of £4.3 billion. 

Core earnings fell 1% to £1.4 billion, in line with expectations, which it said reflected investment in its sports programming.

BT Ireland revenue rises by 14%

Meanwhile, BT Ireland revenue for the second quarter to 30 September was up 14% year-on-year.

Pre-tax profit was up 4%, as revenue in the quarter was helped by significant ICT equipment sales.

Revenues for both the business and wholesale divisions rose, driven by a number of major deals during the quarter.

New contracts signed included an agreement with Sky Ireland to transport all of its IP core internet traffic, and new data centre contracts with LinkBermuda and ICON.

The financial performance of BT Sport Europe was better than expected, with viewing figures increasing by 47% year-on-year.

Commenting on the results Managing Director of BT Corporate UK & Ireland Colm O’ Neill said: “Our all-island BT Ireland performance for the quarter is strong, with underlying top and bottom line growth.

“Success this quarter was driven by increased revenue from our major customers, both multinational and wholesale, the continued uptake of fibre broadband across Northern Ireland and ongoing cost management across the business,” he added.