BT and Sky to each issue a trading update

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TELECOMS giants BT and British Sky Broadcasting will lock horns again in the battle for broadband and pay-TV customers when each issues a trading update this week.

Quarterly figures from BT on Thursday will be pitted against full-year data from Sky on Friday, with both firms updating on attempts to grow market share in the cutthroat broadband market.

BT recently threw the gauntlet down to Sky when it revealed broadband customers will be able to watch English Premier League football for free, after it bought the rights to show 38 top-flight games a season.

The former state monopoly underlined its ambitions in sport last year when it bid £738 million for the three-year package of Premier League football – the first serious attempt to break Sky’s grip on armchair sports fans.

BT’s results for its first quarter to 30 June are expected to show pre-tax profits dipping to £559m from £567m a year earlier, on the back of rising costs including heavy spending on its sport launch, tougher regulation in its wholesale business and pension charges.

The results will be the first since respected Scots-born boss Ian Livingston revealed he is quitting in September to join the UK government as a trade minister.

He will be replaced by Gavin Patterson, current head of the group’s retail arm.

Analysts expect Sky to increase pre-tax profits by 9 per cent to £1.25 billion for the year to 30 June.