TalkTalk has claimed that it lost a mere 101,000 customers following the catastrophic data breach it suffered last year, but that the attack cost it £60m – almost twice the £35m estimate that CEO Dido Harding claimed it cost in November.
Research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech had suggested only yesterday that the company had lost seven per cent of its broadband base – around 300,000 customers – since the crippling cyber-attack in which 156,959 customer accounts were compromised.
But TalkTalk’s third quarter update revealed that the company actually lost 101,000 customers in the quarter. TalkTalk suggested that the cyber attack accounted for 95,000 of those lost customers, with the other 6,000 customers having other reasons for abandoning TalkTalk.
The company said that the cyber attack knocked off £15m in trading value of the company, with “exceptional costs” for the attack coming in at between £40m and £45m – significantly more than the £35m that TalkTalk suggested the cyber attack would cost back in November.
Back then, it said that £30 to £35m would cover the response to the incident, the incremental calls into its call centres, the additional IT and technology costs, and the fact that its online sales sites had been taken down by the attack.
Dido Harding, the CEO of TalkTalk, who has said that she was responsible for security at the time of the hack, claimed to be encouraged to see business “returning to normal” after a quarter that had been dominated by the cyber attack.She said that almost half-a-million customers chose to take up the company’s unconditional offer of a free upgrade, which was more successful than TalkTalk had expected.
The company results also showed revenue up 1.8 per cent in the three months to December, a significant slowdown from the 5.9 per cent growth in the previous quarter, but perhaps something of a surprise under the circumstances.