AT&T narrows Q4 loss to $3.9B, sells 8.6M iPhones

AT&T’s developer summit at CES 2013.

(Credit: Roger Cheng/CNET)

AT & T posted a narrower fourth quarter loss, which was again weighed down by a change in the assessment of its employee pension plan.

Report the results to date, the company has, however, added 780,000 subscribers during the period of the contract, and sold a record 10.2 million smartphones, of which 8.6 million were iPhones.

AT & T posted a loss of $ 3.9 billion, or 68 cents per share, compared with a loss of $ 6.7 billion, or $ 1.12 per share, for the same period a year ago. Excluding pension issues, an adjustment for the sale of its advertising unit, and the impact of Superstorm Sandy, reported adjusted earnings of 44 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, a forecast of 45 cents per share in earnings and $ 32.2 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Rival Verizon on Tuesday reported a wider fourth quarter loss and results that fell short of expectations, but painted a rosy picture for 2013 between reducing costs and improving business fundamentals.

Neither AT & T nor Verizon can not escape the fact that when the iPhone sales spike for the quarter, so do the subsidies paid to Apple. This is one reason why the carriers have been aggressively promoting other phones, requesting a grant small and do not have much impact on earnings.

AT & T has always been more reliant on the iPhone. With the iPhone represents the majority of smartphones sold in the period, his bottom line took a hit. The company said sales thatAndroid also beat his record, despite the lower percentage.

AT & T was trying to compensate with mobile data sharing plans. The company said that 90 percent of its smartphones are family, business, incentive plans or mobile and 6.6 million subscribers are on the ground to share data with more than one quarter to opt for the high-end 10-gigabyte account.

Beyond phone plans, AT & T has been increasingly expanding into other products, connecting everything from cars to pill bottles and tablets. The company added a net 246,000 connected devices in the period, as well as 234,000 customers through retailers.

In total, the wireless business generated $ 17.6 billion in revenue, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.

The wireline business, which continues to see a decline in traditional DSL connections, saw 192,000 net new U-verse TV customers to reach 4.5 million euro, and added 609,000 U-Verse Internet customers hit a total of 7.7 million euro. Including DSL, in general growth of broadband subscribers was flat.

AT & T wireline revenues slipped 0.5 percent to $ 14.9 billion.

Meanwhile, AT & T expects its adjusted profit per share to grow in the upper single digits or higher on a percentage basis in 2013. Consolidated revenue growth to exceed 2 percent. Analysts expect earnings per share of about 9 per cent growth in revenues and approximately 1.5 percent.

Capital expenditure, meanwhile, are expected to amount to about $ 21 billion.

CEO Randall Stephenson said during a conference call with analysts for 2013, AT & T will focus on the aggressive launch of Project VIP, as well as scale new businesses like digital life, mobile wallet, and car-related.

VIP project, which stands for IP Velocity project, consists of an investment of $ 14 billion dollars over the next three years – $ 8 billion to $ 6 billion for wireless and wireline – and is designed to expand the coverage of the company on 4G LTE side access and faster service, more fiber optic lines, and extended U-Verse availability on the fixed network.

He also noted that while the wireless companies will always be looking for more spectrum, it feels “good” about the location of AT & T at this time. AT & T has signed nearly 50 bids to increase its spectrum national average of about one third, he said. Earlier this week, AT & T said it is spending $ 780 million to collect a vector called Atlantic Tele-Network.

He added that AT & T can do a couple of offers of spectrum more this year to fill the gaps.

“I like how we are ready for 2013,” said Stephenson.

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