AT&T reported earnings today, and investors seem to like the results initially. What always strikes me when I read their earnings releases is just how dependent they are on their wireless division. What almost happened this time is that the segment income from wireless ($3.0B) very nearly passed that of wireline ($3.1B) on two thirds of the revenue base.
AT&T’s wireline revenues follow a familiar pattern for the industry and likely will continue to do so for a long time. A large pile of mature revenues steadily declining, offset by good growth in all those cool and interesting new technologies we like to read and speculate about. Of course, we hear about the latter much more than we hear about the former, but it is the combination that really matters. All telecoms have to deal with this, either now or in a few year of course. On a much smaller scale we will read similar things with XO and Level 3 and TWTC etc over the next few weeks.
But of course it is cashflow that really runs the world, not those cool new technologies, and AT&T wireline continues to generate plenty of it. Overall AT&T’s results looked stronger than one might expect in rough economic times, let’s hope the rest of the sector looks as healthy.
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