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AT&T Gains as 5G Lures More Postpaid Users

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By Dhirendra Tripathi – AT&T stock (NYSE:T) rose 0.5% on Wednesday on strong fourth-quarter growth in its postpaid phone business.

The company signed up 884,000 net new postpaid phone subscribers in the quarter, more than 10% higher from a year ago as more customers embrace 5G services to enhance their video experiences. Mobility revenue was up 5% and topped $21 billion.

AT&T has prioritized its fiber internet business as an area for growth, and said it added 271,000 net new customers during the quarter. This was slightly short of the 273,000 subscribers it added in the business in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Growth in the phone and internet business is crucial for AT&T as the company completes the sale of its media business to Discovery. That business contributed $10 billion to the quarterly revenue as ‘Dune’, ‘The Matrix’ and the newest season of ‘Succession’ drew in more subscribers to its premium TV channel HBO and its streaming platform HBO Max.

AT&T expects the WarnerMedia-Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) deal to close in the second quarter.

The two platforms together added 4.4 million subscribers during the quarter, closing December at 73.8 million. AT&T had 60.6 million subscribers at the end of December 2020.

Including WarnerMedia and Xandr -- an advertising marketplace that it is selling to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) -- AT&T now expects 2022 revenue growth in the low-single-digit percentage range. The company expects annual adjusted earnings of $3.10 to $3.15 per share in 2022.

Total consolidated revenue was $41 billion in the fourth quarter, down 10% year-on-year because of impact of divested businesses.

AT&T’s adjusted profit per share in the fourth quarter was 78 cents, higher than estimated.

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