AT&T reflected on an “eventful” 2015 in its Q4 results, focusing on its DirecTV acquisition and mobile buys in Mexico, as the US operator talked up ambitions “to be the premier integrated communications company in the world”.
Like its rivals in the US market, AT&T is targeting video as a new revenue driver, as well as beefing up its integrated offering tailored towards bundling mobile, broadband, TV and fixed-line. In July, the company completed a $48.5 billion deal to acquire US satellite player DirecTV, a signal of its commitment to the space.
In its earnings statement, Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman, said the DirecTV integration “is going well, and the customer response to our new integrated mobile and entertainment offer is strong”.
He also heralded the company’s growing expertise in offering customers mobile, video and data solutions.
“We think we’re a company with no obvious peer”, he said on an earnings call.
The company will be further encouraged after reporting Q4 net income of $4.1 billion, swinging from a loss of $4 billion in the same quarter a year ago (which was partly the result of $10 billion in charges related to pension and retiree benefit plans).
Consolidated revenue also rose, totalling $42.1 billion, up more than 22 per cent year, from $34.4 billion in Q4 2014.
AT&T said the uplift was largely due to the acquisition of DirecTV.
Slowing contract customer growth
In other key metrics, the US operator did see growth slow in lucrative contract customers, adding 526,000 postpaid net additions, compared to 854,000 the prior year quarter.
Prepaid net additions however rose dramatically, to 469,000 in the quarter, compared to a 67,000 loss year on year.
Wireless revenue slipped to $18.9 billion, down from $19.9 billion in Q4 2014 due to weakened equipment sales.
Overall, the company added 2.2 million wireless net additions in the US, compared to 1.9 million last year, which includes branded customers, resellers and 1.2 million connected devices. It now claims a total of 26.2 million connected devices.
And Stephenson revealed the company’s recent deal with Ford means it will connect “at least 10 million cars over the next five years”.
The company added it has expanded its LTE network to cover 355 million PoPs across the US.
Meanwhile, 638,000 new additions came from its Mexican business compared to Q3 numbers, giving it 8.7 million subscribers in the country overall.
In the company’s earnings call, Stephenson said “the market is exceeding all our expectations”, with total revenues reaching $643 million, compared to $236 million when first reporting Mexico in Q1 this year.