Monday, December 10, 2007

AT&T Forecasts Heavy Traffic Growth, Updates Financial Outlook

At its analyst conference in New York, AT&T executives predicted heavy traffic growth on its IP backbone over the next three years as it ramps up its IPTV service, increases broadband speeds, rolls out HSUPA wireless data services and accelerates its push into enterprise application services. The company also updated its 2008 and multiyear outlook.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said that AT&T will enter 2008 with solid operational momentum, having delivered 10 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share and five straight quarters of improved revenue growth. "Our premier set of assets is capable of generating continued strong results over the next several years," said Stephenson.

Some highlights from the meeting:

  • The total broadband traffic carried by AT&T per day is up more than 145% over the past 2 years.

  • Business data traffic as measured in terabytes/day was up 60% in 2007 over 2006.

  • There are now more than 1 billion wired and wireless devices connected to AT&T networks.

  • AT&T continues to believe that its FTTN is the best architecture. In the long run, it believes the U-verse bandwidth requirements to each subscriber will grow from 21.4 Mbps today to 36.4 Mbps in the future (this represents 4 HD streams + 4 Mbps of overhead + 10 Mbps for Internet access + 2 Mbps for VoIP services). AT&T estimates it can deliver 36.4 Mbps to 80% of its footprint by using pair bonding techniques.

  • AT&T will expand its U-verse services to include the company's Southeast region, with deployment now expected to reach approximately 30 million living units across 22 states by the end of 2010. AT&T has begun a controlled launch of U-verse services in the Atlanta area.

  • AT&T expects that its U-verse services will represent a multibillion-dollar revenue stream by 2010.

  • In terms of wireline consumer connections, AT&T predicts that ARPU will grow from the upper $50s today to more than $70 by 2010.

  • In 2008, AT&T will begin offering 10 Mbps broadband connections over its U-verse network.

  • For U-verse TV, AT&T has set the following targets: more than 1 million customers by the end of 2008; weekly installs ramping to over 40,000 by the end of 2008.

  • U-verse CPE costs are currently running at about $550 per subscriber. The company aims to reduce this to around $400 per subscriber by 2010. The cost per living unit passed is in the low-$300 range.

  • AT&T is deploying content servers in more than 20 locations across the U.S.

  • Industry-wide voice minutes are growing 10% annually, with a shift to wireless.

  • Annual wireless data revenue growth has exceeded 60% for 5 consecutive quarters.

  • AT&T Global Business Services currently serves nearly 120,000 enterprise and wholesale customers globally. Wholesale represents 43% of the business, while enterprise sales represents the other 57%.

  • AT&T Global Business Services expects approximately 75% of market growth in the next 2 years will come from Application Services. Therefore, the company's strategy will be "to help enterprises achieve velocity by delivering intelligent and secure networking, application-enabling platforms and business solutions expertise."

  • AT&T's board of directors approved a 12.7 percent increase in the company's quarterly dividend, the largest annual increase in the company's history, from $0.355 a share to $0.40 a share on a quarterly basis and from $1.42 to $1.60 a share on an annualized basis.

  • AT&T board approved a new authorization for the repurchase of 400 million shares, which represents approximately 6.6 percent of AT&T's shares outstanding as of Dec. 7, 2007. This replaces AT&T's current repurchase authorization, under which the company had repurchased more than $13 billion of its shares through Dec. 7, 2007.

  • AT&T expects to return $19 billion this year to shareowners through dividends and share buybacks.

  • AT&T expects to deliver continued midteens wireless revenue growth, including results from the recent acquisition of Dobson Communications, reflecting strong subscriber growth and continued robust growth in wireless data services.

  • AT&T expects continued capital expenditures in the midteens as a percentage of total revenues.

Presentation materials are available on the company's website.