Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AT&T Reports Gains with iPhones, Wireless Data, U-verse

AT&T reported solid financial results for Q3 driven by strong wireless gains and stable trends in business services, including continued double-digit IP data growth and a major turnaround in wholesale revenue growth. The performance was led by the Apple iPhone 3G -- which was launched on July 11 -- with a total of 2.4 million activations in the quarter, approximately 40 percent of them to new wireless AT&T customers. AT&T's earnings rose 5.5 percent, but missed analyst estimates due to subsidies for the 2.4 million iPhones.



AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $31.3 billion, up 4.0 percent versus reported results in the year-earlier quarter and up 3.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2007 pro forma revenues, which exclude merger-related accounting impacts on directory revenues.


Consolidated revenue growth was driven by 15.4 percent growth in wireless revenues and a 16.2 percent increase in wireline IP data revenues, which includes AT&T U-verse services and business offerings such as VPNs, managed Internet services and hosting. Gains in these areas more than offset pressures in the macro-environment and a decline in wireline consumer voice, which was consistent with trends in recent quarters.


Compared with results for the year-earlier quarter, AT&T's reported operating expenses for the third quarter of 2008 were $25.7 billion versus $24.8 billion; reported operating income was $5.6 billion, up from $5.3 billion; and AT&T's reported operating income margin was 17.9 percent, up from 17.6 percent.


Some additional highlights:

Wireless

  • AT&T posted the largest postpaid net subscriber gain for any quarter in its history. Retail postpaid net subscriber additions of 1.7 million were up nearly 40 percent versus results in the year-earlier third quarter and accounted for more than 85 percent of AT&T's 2.0 million total wireless net adds. Total monthly subscriber churn in the third quarter was 1.7 percent, flat with results for the year-earlier quarter, and postpaid churn was 1.2 percent, down from 1.3 percent in the third quarter of 2007.


  • 2.4 Million Apple iPhone 3G Activations. Postpaid subscriber growth was boosted by the dramatic market success of the iPhone 3G. Third-quarter activations of the iPhone 3G totaled 2.4 million, approximately 40 percent to customers who were new to AT&T.


  • 50.5 Percent Wireless Data Revenue Growth. AT&T's wireless data revenues grew 50.5 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $2.7 billion, reflecting strong increases in areas such as Internet access, messaging, e-mail and related services. Wireless Internet access revenues more than doubled versus results for the year-earlier quarter, and multimedia message volumes were also more than double third-quarter 2007 levels.


  • 15.4 Percent Total Wireless Revenue Growth. Driven by subscriber gains and data growth, AT&T's total wireless revenues increased 15.4 percent to $12.6 billion, and wireless service revenues, which exclude handset and accessory sales, grew 14.3 percent to $11.3 billion. Retail postpaid subscriber ARPU was $58.99, up 2.6 percent versus the year-earlier third quarter.


  • Wireless Margins. On a reported basis, third-quarter wireless operating expenses totaled $10.2 billion, operating income was $2.4 billion and AT&T's wireless operating income margin was 18.9 percent versus 18.0 percent in the year-earlier third quarter. On an adjusted basis, third-quarter wireless operating expenses totaled $9.7 billion, operating income was $2.9 billion and AT&T's wireless operating income margin was 22.8 percent versus 26.4 percent in the year-earlier third quarter.


Wireline Operational

  • AT&T's total business revenues -- comprised of enterprise, regional and wholesale customer categories -- grew 0.3 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $11.5 billion. In the third quarter, AT&T delivered a return to growth in wholesale revenues, extending a major turnaround of trends in this category over the past year.


  • Wholesale revenues totaled $3.5 billion, up 0.8 percent sequentially and 0.7 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Regional business revenues increased 0.7 percent sequentially and 2.3 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $3.2 billion.


  • Regional business data revenues grew 8.4 percent year over year, led by Ethernet and IP data services, including managed Internet and VPNs. IP data and Ethernet, which made up 53.6 percent of AT&T's regional business data revenues, grew 18.9 percent versus the year-earlier third quarter.


  • Enterprise revenues totaled $4.7 billion, up 0.8 percent sequentially and down 1.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, reflecting solid sales results with some pressures on voice and data transport volumes. Enterprise fundamentals in terms of closed sales, a strong sales funnel and new service adoption remain solid.


  • AT&T U-verse TV Services. experienced a net gain of 232,000 subscribers in the third quarter, up from 170,000 added in the second quarter of this year. At the end of the quarter, subscribers to the company's next-generation, IP-based TV service totaled 781,000, on a trajectory to exceed its target of more than 1 million U-verse TV subscribers by year-end 2008. U-verse network deployment now passes 14 million living units. Rollout of Total Home DVR service is under way and expected to be completed by the end of the year. Attach rates for broadband service continue to be high, at more than 85 percent.


  • 16.2 Percent Growth in Wireline IP Data Revenues. Driven by expansion in AT&T U-verse services and growth in business products such as VPNs, managed Internet services and hosting, AT&T posted its fourth consecutive quarter of strong mid-teens growth in total wireline IP data revenues. Consumer IP data revenues, which include broadband and U-verse services, grew 19.0 percent, and business IP data revenues were up 14.7 percent. IP data now accounts for 44.0 percent of AT&T's total wireline data revenues.


  • Broadband Connection Growth. At the end of the third quarter, AT&T's wireline broadband subscribers totaled 14.8 million, up 148,000 in the quarter and 1.1 million over the past year.


  • Growth in Regional Consumer ARPU. Reflecting growth in wireline broadband and U-verse services, AT&T's revenues per consumer household served increased 4.3 percent versus the year-earlier third quarter. Regional consumer revenue connections (retail voice, high speed Internet and video) totaled 47.5 million at the end of the quarter versus 49.6 million at the end of the third quarter of 2007 and 48.4 million at the end of the second quarter of 2008. Total consumer broadband and TV connections over the past year increased by 1.9 million.


  • Total regional consumer revenues were $5.5 billion, down 3.8 percent. This reflects operational trends and a change in AT&T's relationship with Yahoo!, which provides portal services to AT&T's nearly 15 million wireline broadband subscribers. Under the new arrangement, announced in the second quarter of 2008, AT&T no longer pays monthly portal fees and receives a reduced level of shared advertising revenues from Yahoo!


  • Wireline Expenses. AT&T's reported third-quarter wireline operating expenses totaled $14.8 billion, down 1.1 percent from results in the year-earlier quarter, and on an adjusted basis, wireline operating expenses were $14.4 billion versus $14.4 billion in the third quarter of 2007. In addition to operational trends and progress on cost initiatives, third-quarter wireline cost trends also include expenses of approximately $90 million related to hurricanes.
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