Wireless, Data Pace AT&T Earnings, Fixed Network Voice Drops 10 Percent

By Gary Kim July 24, 2012

AT&T second quarter earnings were, as expected, led and highlighted by wireless performance. In fact, all revenue growth, on both the fixed network and mobile network, was arguably driven by data revenue, which wouldn’t surprise anyone.

Total revenue was $31.3 billion, with growth driven by wireless ($14.8 billion) and fixed network data services ($7.9 billion). By most indications, that will continue to be the case for AT&T and Verizon Wireless for the foreseeable future.

As has been the pattern for some years, wireless alone contributes 52 percent of total revenue. Fixed network data and managed services (consumer, mass market and enterprise) represents 28 percent of revenue.

Fixed network voice contributes 18 percent of revenue, down from 20 percent a year ago. Fixed network voice revenues dropped 10.1 percent, year over year, from to $6.3 billion to $5.7 billion.

In the wireline segment, revenue from residential customers totaled $5.5 billion. U-verse revenue represented $2.3 billion of quarterly revenue. Without U-verse, revenue would have been far worse. Instead, largely on the strength of U-verse, AT&T saw a 1.7-percent revenue growth for wireline segment products.

U-verse revenue was up 38 percent. That was, according to AT&T, the “strongest growth” in the consumer segment in more than four years.

“Continued strong growth in consumer IP data services in the second quarter more than offset lower revenue from voice and legacy products,” AT&T said.

On the other hand, AT&T lost 649,000 DSL subscribers, for a net loss of 96,000 broadband customers, after adding in new accounts gained during the quarter.  U-verse broadband access customers saw a net gain of 553,000 subscribers, to reach a total of 6.5 million. Total wireline broadband connections dropped 0.2 percent, year over year, to 16.43 million.

On both fixed and mobile networks, it is data revenues that are driving revenue growth. In fact, data revenue will grow to 65 percent of total U.S. wireless service revenue as voice declines to 35 percent in 2016, according to Hugues de la Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Gartner believes multi-device rate plans will be a key driving factor in the expansion of U.S. data revenue from $81.4 billion in 2011 to $151.9 billion in 2016.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

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