AT&T 1Q: U-Verse Rides High, Commercial Sales Lag

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1Q marked one of the best U-Verse quarters for AT&T ever, as AT&T execs said on the telco's earnings conference call Tues. The telco added 731K new HSI subs, its best-ever quarterly gain. It acquired 232K net new U-Verse TV subs, the strongest growth in 9 quarters, and ended with 8.7mln total U-Verse subs. In total, it added 124K wireline broadband subs. Some 56% of U-Verse broadband customers subscribe to a plan with speeds up to 10 Mbps or higher, up from 50% in the year-ago quarter. ARPU for triple-play subs continues to be more than $170. U-Verse TV penetration of customer locations grew to 19.4% at the end of the quarter, with wireline consumer revenue up 2% YOY while total U-Verse revenue grew 31.5% YOY. However, AT&T saw weak demand from business customers. “The economy continues to be the issue,” CFO John Stephens said. Total business revenues were $8.9bln, down 3.4% YOY. But revenue from services like VPN, Ethernet, hosting and other advanced IP grew 10.8% YOY. While acknowledging a weak macro environment, AT&T chmn/CEO Randall Stephenson trumpeted potential growth in mobile, IP services, the company's Project VIP plan, and cloud services. Overall, AT&T posted net income of $3.7bln, up from $3.6bln in the same quarter last year. Going forward, the company expects capex to be in the $21bln range this year and in the $20bln range for '14 and '15, respectively, with no reduction in the Project VIP broadband expansion plan, Stephens said.

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