Prepaid subs growth spares AT&T blushes in Q3 - Mobile World Live

Prepaid subs growth spares AT&T blushes in Q3

24 OCT 2018

AT&T executives hailed a return to wireless service revenue growth during Q3 following a lengthy period of stagnation, which it achieved despite a hefty drop in post paid subscribers.

Though Q3 service revenue of $14 billion dropped slightly year-on-year due to the implementation of new accounting standards, on a comparable basis the figure was up 2.3 per cent to $14.8 billion.

John Donovan, head of AT&T Communications, declared after several quarters of decline the metric had “turned a corner”, adding he was confident the momentum would continue until the end of the year.

Total wireless revenue of $17.9 billion was up from $17.4 billion in the 2017 period. Consolidated revenue, including fixed-line and entertainment businesses, increased to $45.7 billion from $39.7 billion in Q3 2017.

The earnings increases came despite the loss of 232,000 post paid subscribers in the recent quarter. However, prepaid proved a highlight as the company pulled in 570,000 new users in that segment.

Donovan noted AT&T continues to be “impressed” with its prepaid customer base, which he said is driving a revenue stream which grew at a rate of nearly 7 per cent year-on-year.

“From a pure value perspective, they look very similar to some of our post paid base. In fact, through the first three quarters of the year, about 60 per cent of our Cricket net adds have characteristics that would generate similar value that we see from some of our post paid customers.”

Donovan also said the operator expects to launch its 3GPP standards-based mobile 5G service “in the next few weeks”, reiterating coverage will extend across parts of 12 cities by the end of 2018 and expand to seven additional cities in 2019.

Net income attributable to AT&T of $4.7 billion in the recent quarter was up from $3 billion in the comparable period of 2017.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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