AT&T Activates 5.2M iPhones

October 21st, 2010 by · 4 Comments

That's right, 5.2 million of them.  AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) reported its Q3 earnings per share of $0.55, which was inline with consensus estimates.  Total revenues of $31.6B was on the high side of estimates which seemed to be around $31.2B.  But the wireless business clearly had a great quarter, adding 2.6M net subscribers to reach 92.8M total.  They also saw good pickup in their U-Verse offering, which enabled consumer wireline to post a sequential improvement.  However, the thing with trying to take the measure of AT&T's earnings is that they're so darn big that there are always enough good things to say to make the PR sound positive without dwelling on less positive items.

What other items?  Actually there weren't any particularly big ones, AT&T had a pretty nice quarter overall.  But Business Markets continued to slide, down 3.9% from the prior year to $9.5B.  Most of that was voice, and the company noted that 70% of its Frame customers have now migrated, which should help that sort of churn over time.  IP and other more modern data services were of course up strongly as they are every quarter as their own customers migrate to newer technologies.  On the consumer wireline front, another 870K voice connections bled off.  That's a fairly tame number as well.

So all in all, wireless was fantastic, wireline was ho hum, and they generated another $4B in free cash flow.  There didn't seem to be any hints of a shift in the economics of the sector, so hopefully the media won't find any other hidden messages of doom.  All in a quarter's work for AT&T, no doubt it will be a similar story in 3 months.

Categories: Financials · ILECs, PTTs

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4 Comments So Far


  • carlkj says:

    To me, getting ones hands around this subscriber growth commentary in their wireless space, assuming there are only so many “per capita” being sliced and diced on the earth, including a most “competitive” landscape of carriers and options to choose from, in addition to ARPU, remains a most crucial exercise in finding the “implosion button” for when T REX falls in the Jungle. The inflexion point for such implosion tied to “switches” and “shift” will surprise most pundits as they keep focusing on “fake accounting” for headlines to adjust.

    When do they run out of subs to grow from while “subsidizing” same?

    Across all types of phones, the Dallas-based company added a net 745,000 subscribers on contract-based plans, matching analyst expectations. That’s much less than it has in previous years, but still strong considering growth in the industry has stalled now that nearly everyone has a phone.

    The success in subscriber recruitment didn’t immediately translate into a corresponding jump in profits for AT&T, since it subsidizes every new smart phone by hundreds of dollars. It makes that money back through service fees over a two-year contract, but the launch of a new iPhone model in the summer reliably holds back AT&T’s earnings.

  • Homer says:

    just nitpicking… T’s revenues are in the “b”illions… thanks for your hard work

  • carlkj says:

    “Too big to fail,” not.

    What until the “regulatory scheme” is BUSTED. imo

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