Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AT&T Sees Continued Strength in Wireless

Led by strong mobile growth, AT&T reported consolidated revenues of $31.6 billion, up $847 million, or 2.8 percent, versus the year-earlier quarter, and up 2.5% over the previous quarter. This marks the company's third consecutive quarter with a year-over-year revenue increase. Net income totaled $12.3 billion, or $2.08 per diluted share, including $1.53 in one-time gains from a previously disclosed tax settlement and the sale of Sterling Commerce.

Capital expenditures totaled $5.5 billion, including a nearly 64 percent increase in wireless-related capital investment versus the year-earlier quarter, as AT&T aggressively deploys next-generation wireless broadband networks.

"This was a terrific mobile broadband quarter," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer. "A record number of customers signed new two-year contracts and integrated device sales outpaced our previous best by a wide margin. Wireless revenues continue to grow, churn is reaching record low levels, and postpaid ARPU increased for the seventh straight quarter.

Some highlights for the quarter:


  • AT&T posted a net gain in total wireless subscribers of 2.6 million, to reach 92.8 million in service.

  • Retail net adds for the quarter include postpaid net adds of 745,000 and prepaid net adds of 321,000. Connected device net adds were 1.2 million, and reseller net adds were 406,000.

  • Total Churn at Record Third-Quarter Level. Postpaid churn was 1.14 percent — matching the third-quarter record set in 2009 — and total churn reached a best-ever third-quarter level of 1.32 percent versus 1.42 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

  • More than 8 million postpaid integrated devices were activated in the third quarter, the most quarterly activations ever. More than 80 percent of postpaid sales were integrated devices. (Integrated devices are handsets with QWERTY or virtual keyboards in addition to voice functionality and are a key driver of wireless data usage.)

  • At the end of the quarter, 57.3 percent of AT&T's 67.7 million postpaid subscribers had integrated devices, up from 42.0 percent a year earlier. The average ARPU for integrated devices on AT&T's network is 1.7 times that of the company's non-integrated device base. More than 80 percent of integrated device subscribers are on FamilyTalk and/or business discount plans. Churn levels for these plans continue to run below the company's postpaid base.

  • There were 5.2 million iPhone activations, the most iPhone activations ever in a quarter. This is 62 percent more than the previous quarterly record of 3.2 million activated in the second quarter of 2010. Approximately 24 percent of those activations were for customers who were new to AT&T.

  • Wireless data revenues — from messaging, Internet access, access to applications and related services — increased $1.1 billion, or 30.5 percent, from the year-earlier quarter to $4.8 billion.

  • AT&T wireless subscribers on data plans increased by 21.5 percent over the past year.

  • Total text messages carried on the AT&T network increased about 34 percent to 161 billion and multimedia messages more than doubled to 2.8 billion.

  • Postpaid subscriber ARPU increased 2.0 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $62.84. This marked the seventh consecutive quarter AT&T has posted a year-over-year increase in postpaid ARPU. Postpaid data ARPU reached $22.02, up 19.5 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, and total postpaid subscriber revenues continued recent trends, with double-digit growth, reflecting increases in both voice and data.

  • Wireless service revenues increased 10.5 percent to $13.7 billion in the third quarter. Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 11.4 percent year over year to $15.2 billion and increased 6.6 percent from the second quarter of 2010.

  • Wireline Operational

    • Driven by strength in IP data services, in the third quarter, total revenue from residential customers totaled $5.3 billion, up 0.2 percent from the third quarter of 2009, the first year-over-year growth in more than two years.

    • AT&T U-verse TV subscribers increased by 236,000 in the quarter to reach 2.7 million.

    • The AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet attach rate continued to run above 90 percent, and nearly 60 percent of subscribers took AT&T U-verse Voice. More than three-fourths of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers have a triple- or quad-play option from AT&T. ARPU for U-verse triple-play customers was about $160.

    • AT&T's U-verse deployment now reaches more than 26 million living units. Companywide penetration of eligible living units is 14.1 percent, and across areas marketed to for 30 months or more, overall penetration is more than 22 percent. AT&T's total video subscribers, which combine the company's U-verse and bundled satellite customers, reached 4.7 million at the end of the quarter, representing 18.8 percent of households served.

    • Driven by U-verse High Speed Internet service, AT&T posted a 148,000 net gain in wireline broadband connections.

    • U-verse Revenues Exceed $1 Billion. Increased AT&T U-verse penetration drove 30.0 percent year-over-year growth in consumer IP revenues (broadband, U-verse TV and U-verse Voice).

    • In the third quarter, AT&T U-verse revenues were $1.1 billion, 84.5 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2009.

    • AT&T posted a decline in total consumer revenue connections due primarily to expected declines in traditional voice access lines, partially offset by increases in broadband, U-verse TV and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) connections. Combined wireline consumer TV and broadband connections increased by 343,000 in the third quarter and 1.3 million over the past four quarters. AT&T U-verse Voice connections increased by 166,000 in the quarter and 759,000 over the past four quarters. Total consumer revenue connections at the end of the third quarter were 43.7 million, compared with 45.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2009 and 44.3 million at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

    • Total business revenues were $9.5 billion, a decline of 3.9 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Business service revenues, which exclude CPE, declined 3.7 percent year over year and decreased slightly sequentially, down 1.3 percent.

    • Business IP data revenues grew 8.0 percent overall, led by growth in VPN revenues. Global Enterprise Solutions IP data revenues grew 9.7 percent. Approximately 70 percent of AT&T's frame customers have made the transition to IP-based solutions, which allows them to easily add managed services such as network security, cloud services and IP conferencing on top of their infrastructures.

    • Revenues from new-generation capabilities that lead AT&T's most advanced business solutions — including Ethernet, VPNs, hosting, IP conferencing and application services — grew 15.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter and were up 4.5 percent from the second quarter of 2010, continuing AT&T's strong trends in this category.

    • Total wireline revenues posted their smallest year-over-year decline in six quarters, down 3.0 percent, and down slightly sequentially. Third-quarter revenues in AT&T's wireline segment totaled $15.3 billion versus $15.7 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Third-quarter wireline operating expenses were $13.4 billion, down 3.9 percent versus the third quarter of 2009 and down 0.6 percent sequentially. Wireline operating income totaled $1.8 billion, compared to $1.8 billion in the third quarter of 2009 and $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2010. AT&T's third-quarter wireline operating income margin was 12.0 percent, compared with 11.2 percent in the year-earlier quarter and 12.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010.

    See also