AT&T Dethrones Verizon: Now No. 1 in Wireless Subs, Makes TV Gains

AT&T Inc. on Thursday said its added 246,000 U-Verse TV subscribers in the fourth quarter, reflecting its best three-month period of the year.

AT&T now serves roughly 3 million TV subscribers.

In the fourth quarter, AT&Ts revenues from U-Verse services such as TV, high-speed Internet and VoIP totaled $1.3 billion. 

Among the 21 million living units where U-Verse is available, AT&T has achieved a penetration rate of 14.2 percent.  But AT&T said roughly 22 percent of eligible living units are subscribing to its U-Verse services across areas where the company has marketed its services for 30 months or more.

In the fourth quarter, more than 90 percent of AT&Ts U-Verse TV subscribers also purchased high-speed Internet service and 60 percent of the customers also subscribed to U-Verse Voice, the companys VoIP service. According to AT&T, more than three quarters of its U-Verse TV subscribers purchase three our four bundled services from the company, such as the so-called triple play combination of TV, Internet and VoIP.

Meanwhile, AT&T said it added 400,000 retail wireless subscribers. In a research note, Goldman Sachs said the retail additions matched the firms expectation but fell below the consensus of 541,000 additions. 

AT&T said it added a total of 2.8 million customers in the quarter to reach a total of 95.5 million wireless subscribers. That makes AT&T the No. 1 mobile operator, followed by Verizon Wireless (94.1 million subscribers).

AT&T sold roughly 7.4 million postpaid integrated devices” in the fourth quarter, which the company defines as handsets with QWERTY or virtual keyboards in addition to voice functionality.” Of such devices, AT&T activated 4.1 million iPhones.

Wireless service revenues rose 9.6 percent to $13.8 billion.

As the telecommunications giant shifts its focus to next-generation services like U-Verse TV, customers continue to nix their traditional home lines. AT&T reported that its total consumer-revenue connections declined to 43.4 million from 45.3 million a year ago.

For the quarter, AT&T reported consolidated revenues of $31.4 billion, reflecting a 2.1 percent gain, or $653 million increase, over the quarter a year ago.

Net income attributable to the company was $1.1 billion, or $0.18 per diluted share. Those figures compare to net income of $2.7 billion, or $0.46 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.

For the year, AT&T posted revenues of $124.3 billion and net income attributable to the company of $19.9 billion.

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