AT&T Runs Hard to Stay Even in Fixed Network Segment

By Gary Kim July 24, 2014

Even if AT&T second quarter earnings predictably were lead by mobile segment gains, what is happening in the fixed network segment might strike some as more significant, given the pressures that segment faces.

Total second-quarter fixed network revenues were $14.6 billion, down 0.9 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014, but up 0.2 percent over the first quarter of 2014.

The big story is U-verse, AT&T’s fiber-reinforced access platform. Total U-verse revenues grew 24.8 percent year over year.

In part, U-verse is important since it drives bundling opportunities. More than 97 percent of AT&T’s video customers subscribe to bundled services.

About 66 percent of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers take three or four services from AT&T, driving average revenue per user for U-verse triple-play customers to more than $170.

In a real sense, the “product” sold by AT&T to consumers is a bundle of video, Internet access, voice and mobile services.

And even if AT&T would prefer to see growth in the fixed network segment, executives at most telcos in the developed world are happy to see revenue remain stable, rather than decline.

That is about the best executives at developed world telcos reasonably can expect.

Second-quarter wireline operating income margin was 9.7 percent compared to 11.1 percent in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenues from residential customers totaled $5.7 billion, an increase of three percent versus the second quarter a year ago.

Continued strong growth in consumer IP data services in the second quarter more than offset lower revenues from legacy voice and data products.

U-verse, which includes high speed Internet, TV and voice over IP, now represents 62 percent of wireline consumer revenues, up from 51 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Consumer U-verse revenues grew 24.5 percent year over year.

U-verse TV added 190,000 subscribers in the second quarter to reach 5.9 million in service.

U-verse high speed Internet had a second-quarter net gain of 488,000 subscribers, to reach a total of 11.5 million.

Overall, total wireline broadband subscribers decreased by 55,000 in the quarter and were flat year over year.

Total fixed network broadband ARPU was up more than six percent year over year.

Total U-verse high speed Internet subscribers now represent about 70 percent of all wireline broadband subscribers, compared with 55 percent in the year-earlier quarter.

At the end of the quarter, U-verse TV penetration was more than 21 percent and U-verse broadband penetration was more than 20 percent.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Editor

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