AT&T Keeps Growing

AT&T published their first quarter earnings yesterday after the close of business, and things are looking rosy. The full report is here, but if you want just the basics: here they are:

  • The company added 3.2 net wireless subscribers with almost all of those coming in the US.
  • In addition, the video side of the business grew by a net 125,000 subscribers.
  • DIRECTV NOW is the star of the show with 312,000 net additions. Inexplicably the U-Verse TV service also grew by 1,000 customers.
  • On the broadband side, a net 154,000 customers were added, with 8 million homes now passed by AT&T’s fiber network.

When you look at those numbers, they look pretty great, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Naysayers gonna nay

It wouldn’t be fair for me to go without mentioning that the company did miss its earnings estimates by two cents a share and obviously if you do the numbers the satellite side lost some subscribers (a drop of roughly half of one percent). I won’t deny that, and why would I? It’s right there for anyone to see in their earnings report.

I don’t know about you though, but I think anyone who’s making a big deal of those minuscule drops is just trying to stir up trouble. There are a few bloggers out there who have been trying to tear down DIRECTV satellite for over a decade and I think it’s time for those guys to be honest about their grudges.  The news for AT&T continues to be good overall, and picking on the company for a subscriber drop in one division sounds like sour grapes to me.

It’s actually a good time to be a telecom

So far, we’re seeing that pretty much every telecom grew in Q1 of 2018. Yes there have been declines in traditional video, but they’re not gigantic and they tend to be balanced out with additional money being spent on broadband. People who are looking for the big decline in traditional media probably ought to look elsewhere.

The most diverse time in AT&T history

For those who have been watching the ongoing struggle concerning Time Warner, I’d like to come out and say this is an incredibly exciting time in the history of AT&T. Looking back at a parent company that could have folded ten times over in its roughly 150-year history, it’s pretty amazing to see the portfolio that they’ve built.

Forty years ago, AT&T was besieged by a government-forced breakup, with the parent company reduced to offering long-distance service in an increasingly crowded market made up partially of its former division. Long distance continued to fade but AT&T rose again, thanks to consolidation of former “Baby Bells” and a merger with Cingular Wireless. The new AT&T is stronger than ever as a provider of TV, internet, traditional phone, wireless, and streaming entertainment.

For those who bemoan DIRECTV Satellite’s role in all of this, remember that it was not long ago that people were saying that a standalone TV provider couldn’t survive no matter how big it is. Pretty much every other TV provider has partnered up with an internet service provider, leaving DISH as the only “almost” standalone. I say “almost” because DISH’s Sling TV product is a worthy competitor to DIRECTV NOW and I’m sure it is a very strong part of that company’s plans to move forward with wireless services.

The numbers show it: it was wise for DIRECTV to join forces with AT&T. It’s a strong partnership that’s already benefiting everyone, save for a few sour grape purveyors out there.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.