AT&T: Strong 3rd Quarter

AT&T’s 3rd quarter report for 2012 is in, and the numbers are pleasing Wall Street. AT&T Wireless added 678,000 new wireless customers in the quarter, making a total of 105.9 million users on its network.

Some 44.5 million of those people, or 63.8 percent, are now smartphone users, and AT&T said it had a “record sales quarter” with Android and Windows Phone handsets. It also added 200,000 new U-verse TV subscribers and 613,000 high-speed internet users to sign up with Ma ‘Bell.

AT&T may have sold around 1.3 million iPhone 5 units, nearly twice as many as Verizon’s 651,000, although the 2nd largest carrier continues to be more reliant on the iPhone than Verizon or Sprint. Sprint has 32 markets with LTE so far.

AT&T now has 77 markets up and running with LTE. It says it is now reaching more than 135 million potential customers and hopes to double that number by year’s end. In contrast, Verizon currently serves over 400 LTE markets.

Other details:

  • Wireless revenues up 6.6 percent; wireless service revenues up 4.5 percent
  • Strongest postpaid wireless subscriber ARPU (average monthly revenues per subscriber) growth in six quarters, up 2.4 percent to $65.20; phone-only ARPU up almost 3 percent
  • Best-ever third-quarter postpaid churn
  • 678,000 net increase in total wireless subscribers, including gains in every customer category
  • Wireless operating income margin of 26.2 percent; EBITDA service margin of 40.8 percent with strong smartphone sales
  • More than 40 percent of AT&T’s postpaid smartphone customers use a 4G-capable device.
  • AT&T’s LTE network now covers more than 135 million POPs

In the last three months, reports Engadget, AT&T shipped 6.1 million smartphones, of which 4.1 million were iPhones. Net profits tumbled to $3.6 billion, down from $6.8 billion in Q2, but those costs were from the $3.8 billion share buyback program and the company’s cost of building new LTE infrastructure. AT&T also managed to save $6.5 billion in cash for a rainy day.

Verizon Wireless now covers 250 million POPs with LTE. AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular and Leap Wireless also provide LTE. According to Informa, the United States and Canada account for 54 percent of all LTE subscribers worldwide. T-Mobile USA plans to launch LTE next year, covering 200 million POPs by the end of 2013, and boosted by MetroPCS’ spectrum. Clearwire plans to launch TD-LTE service by the middle of next year, in urban “hot zones”, and currently has a total (including Sprint) of some 11 million 4G (WiMax) subscribers.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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