Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

AT&T revenues dip as wireless equipment sales slide

AT&T revenues dip as wireless equipment sales slide

In all for the March quarter, AT&T's earned $3.5 billion, or 56 cents a share, down from $3.8 billion, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier.

Cash from operations was $9.2B; free cash flow came to $3.2B. Wireless service revenues of $14.5 billion were down 1.8 percent with pressure from adoption of Mobile Share and unlimited plans, partially offset by continued growth in branded smartphones and tablets.

Excluding special items, adjusted earnings were $0.74 per share. EPS fell on a headline basis, but adjusted EPS grew to $0.74 (in line) from a year-ago $0.72.

For 2017, the AT&T said it is no longer providing consolidated revenue guidance "due to the unpredictability of wireless handset sales".

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AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) said it added 2.7 million wireless customers, including 2.1 million in USA, driven by prepaid and connected devices. Compared with results for the first quarter of 2016, operating expenses were $32.5 billion versus $33.4 billion; operating income was $6.9 billion versus $7.1 billion; and operating income margin was 17.4% versus 17.6%.

Stephenson added that the "planned acquisitions of Fiber Tower and Straight Path will add valuable millimeter wave spectrum assets to our 5G tool kit as we lead the way to the next generation of wireless technology".

Shares of AT&T closed Tuesday at $39.94, with a consensus analyst price target of $42.70 and a 52-week trading range of $36.10 to $43.89. "Net" subscriber additions totaled 2.1 million.

AT&T CFO John Stephens, on a call Tuesday with analysts, cited competition from cable rivals and other OTT services for the ongoing pay-TV slide and said DirecTV was particularly hurt in areas where AT&T doesn't offer broadband. Verizon lost wireless customers in Q1. AT&T says that because it can not predict handset sales in advance, it no longer will forecast revenue for future quarters. The telecom giant now expects adjusted EPS growth in the mid-single digit range and adjusted operating margin expansion, with free cash flow in the $18 billion range.

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