AT&T Continues to Lose Subscribers

Posted April 26, 2017

Overall, the Dallas company reported first-quarter earnings of $3.47 billion, or 56 cents per share, down from $3.8 billion, or 61 cents, the year before.

Cash from operations was $9.2B; free cash flow came to $3.2B.

AT&T's revenue shortfall is in part owed to losing 66,000 postpaid mobile phone subscribers during the quarter.

"In a very competitive quarter, we continued to execute on our goals of driving efficiencies in our business while growing adjusted earnings per share", said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, in a statement. In the same period from past year, AT&T reported $0.72 in EPS and $40.53 in revenue.

AT&T also highlighted its strong broadband gains, with with 242,000 IP broadband net adds and 115,000 total broadband net adds.

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The carrier posted 2.1 million overall wireless net adds in the US, however, driven primarily by prepaid and connected devices, and other 633,000 net wireless adds in Mexico. AT&T also announced acquisitions of Fiber Tower and Straight Path to add millimeter wave spectrum assets to spruce up 5G.

AT&T posted consolidated Q1 revenues of $39.4 billion, down slightly from $40.5 billion in the year-ago quarter primarily due to record low equipment sales in wireless.

Smaller rivals like T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ:TMUS) and Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) have engaged in aggressive price wars, and it appears that's catching up to AT&T.

The company noted it had 2.7 million wireless net adds for the quarter.

AT&T is trying to diversify by buying Time Warner Inc TWX.N in a $85.4 billion deal that would give it control of cable channels like HBO and CNN as well as film studio Warner Bros. That compares to the 289,000 such customers that left Verizon during the same period. AT&T says that because it can not predict handset sales in advance, it no longer will forecast revenue for future quarters. The company expects adjusted EPS growth in the mid-single digit range, adjusted operating margin expansion, capital expenditures in the $22 billion range, and free cash flow in the $18 billion range.