AT&T Earnings Show Wireless Customer Gains, $25 Billion Charge on Landlines

AT&T Inc.

T 0.31%

added subscribers for its core wi-fi enterprise in its newest quarter, and the corporate mentioned it plans to maintain spending this 12 months on the build-out of 5G infrastructure and the fiber community.

The telecommunications firm recorded a big fourth-quarter loss after it booked a $25 billion accounting cost tied to its legacy landline infrastructure.

The newest outcomes, excluding the cost, had been largely consistent with Wall Street’s expectations however executives forecast adjusted earnings for 2023 that had been beneath analysts’ estimates.

The Dallas firm mentioned it added 656,000 postpaid cellphone connections within the December quarter, a metric traders use to gauge the power of a cellphone service’s important revenue heart. Analysts had been anticipating 644,800 connections for the interval.

AT&T outpaced rival

Verizon Communications Inc.

which mentioned it added 217,000 cellphone connections underneath postpaid billing plans throughout the December quarter.

T-Mobile US Inc.

gained 927,000 postpaid cellphone prospects throughout the identical interval, the corporate mentioned earlier this month when it launched preliminary outcomes.

AT&T has refocused on its wi-fi and broadband web providers because it scrapped plans to construct a media conglomerate. It slashed its dividend final 12 months and has been paying down debt left from its takeovers of DirecTV and Time Warner.

AT&T generated about $14 billion in money circulation in 2022 and is predicting about $16 billion in 2023. The firm initiatives 2023 capital spending of about $24 billion, consistent with 2022. Finance chief

Pascal Desroches

has mentioned 2022 and 2023 are anticipated to be peak years for capital investments.

Adjusted per-share earnings for the complete 12 months are anticipated to be between $2.35 and $2.45, beneath the $2.53 a share that analysts surveyed by FactSet anticipated. The firm mentioned noncash pension expenses tied to larger rates of interest in addition to the next tax charge weighed on its 2023 adjusted earnings steerage.

AT&T misplaced 43,000 whole broadband connections within the newest quarter, regardless of including 280,000 fiber connections as the corporate continues to construct out that community.

The firm’s roughly $25 billion goodwill impairment cost pushed working prices to $52.4 billion, up from $26.2 billion a 12 months earlier. AT&T additionally took a $1.4 billion asset abandonment cost tied to wireline conduits not wanted. The firm mentioned larger dangerous debt bills and elevated depreciation additionally pushed working prices larger.

Stripping out the corporate’s $25 billion cost and different one-time gadgets, adjusted earnings got here to 61 cents a share within the fourth quarter, topping estimates from Wall Street analysts for 57 cents a share.

Quarterly income from persevering with operations rose 0.8% to $31.34 billion. AT&T’s wireless-service income climbed 5.2% within the current quarter. For 2023, the corporate mentioned it expects wireless-service income of a minimum of 4%.

Write to Will Feuer at [email protected]

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