AT&T Likely Added Mobile Subscribers at Fastest Rate in a Decade

The telecom giant probably turned a $4 billion profit in the first quarter, a year after spinning off its entertainment business

AT&T Advises Its Over 200,000 Workforce To Work From Home, As Coronavirus Continues To Spread

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AT&T (T), the world's second-largest telecommunications company by sales, likely recorded its fastest rate of wireless subscriber growth in over a decade in the first quarter, about a year after spinning off its WarnerMedia entertainment unit to focus on its core communications business.

Net income in the first quarter is projected to be $4.3 billion, or 61 cents a share, down 4% from the same quarter last year, according to analyst estimates compiled by Visible Alpha. Operating revenues likely fell 20.5% from the year-ago quarter to $30.3 billion on account of the WarnerMedia spin-off in April 2022. Operating costs are also projected to fall 27% to $19.6 billion. AT&T reports its first-quarter earnings before markets open Thursday, April 20.

Key Takeaways

  • Net income is projected at $4.3 billion, compared with $4.5 billion in the previous quarter.
  • Earnings per share (EPS) is projected to be 61 cents, down 3% year-over-year.
  • Wireless subscriptions likely rose 12.5% to 221.14 million, which would mark the fastest growth rate in at least a decade.

Investors will be looking at the effects of cost-cutting measures as well as top-line growth, especially in AT&T's wireless unit, which accounts for more than two-thirds of total revenue. Wireless subscriptions with AT&T steadily increased in the years leading up to and during the pandemic until the first quarter of last year when total subscribers fell for the first time since 2016.

AT&T is expected to have ended the quarter with more than 221 million wireless subscribers, a 12.5% year-over-year increase. That would be the fastest rate of subscriber growth in more than a decade.

AT&T Key Metrics
Estimate for Q1 FY 2023 Q1 FY 2022  Q1 FY 2021
 Net Income ($M)  4,033  4,762  7,500
 Earnings per Share ($)  0.56  0.66  1.05
 Wireless Subscribers (M)  221.14  196.62  186.11

To be sure, AT&T's average revenue per unit (ARPU) has decreased in the last decade even more steadily than total subscribers have increased. ARPU was $45.31 in the first quarter of 2014. Analysts expect AT&T to post ARPU of $23.63 last quarter, compared with $24.64 in the same quarter last year.

AT&T shares are up 7.5% year-to-date, underperforming the broader S&P 500 Communication Services sector, which has returned 21.4% over the same period.

AT&T (T) Stock Performance YTD


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  1. AT&T Inc. "AT&T and Discovery Close WarnerMedia Transaction."

  2. Visible Alpha. "Financial Data."

  3. AT&T Inc. "AT&T to Release First-Quarter 2023 Earnings April 20."

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