AT&T adds 208,000 U-verse subs, sees strong sales in 4Q

AT&T (NYSE: T) today said it added 208,000 U-verse customers in the fourth quarter, bringing its total subscriber base to 3.8 million and topping the 194,000 net adds rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) reported yesterday for its FiOS TV service.

The telco had slightly less rosy news to report on the earnings front, where it reported a loss of $6.68 billion, or $1.12 a share, compared with a profit of $1.09 billion, or 18 cents, a year earlier, as large charges from actuarial loss on benefit plans, asset impairments and its merger-termination fee from its failed $39 billion bid to acquire T-Mobile USA, took their toll. Excluding those charges, the company reported earnings of 42 cents per share, down from 55 cents a year ago and in line with analyst expectations.

The telco reported $32.5 billion in revenues for the quarter, up 3.6 percent from a year ago, beating Wall Street's estimates of $32 billion.

AT&T said its wireline consumer revenues were improved and that it was buoyed further by strong wireless network performance.

U-verse continued to change the revenue mix in wireline, where consumer IP revenues grew to 53.2 percent of wireline consumer revenues, up from 45 percent in the year-earlier quarter.

AT&T said U-verse penetration and a significant number of subscribers on triple or quad-play options pushed revenue from U-verse services up 43.7 percent compared with the year-ago fourth quarter and were up 8.6 percent versus the third quarter of 2011.

About three-fourths of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers have a triple or quad-play option from AT&T. ARPU for U-verse triple-play customers was almost $170, up 2.5 percent year-over-year.

The company said its U-verse deployment has reached its goal of passing 30 million living units, adding that its total video subscribers, which combine the company's U-verse and bundled satellite customers, reached 5.6 million at the end of the quarter.

"Looking ahead, we start 2012 with the best visibility we've had in some time, and we're well positioned to deliver solid results--including continued revenue growth with margin expansion, solid earnings per share growth and strong cash flow," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer. "In short order, we will begin share repurchases to deliver significant value to our owners."

For more:
- see this release

Special Report: IPTV earnings in the fourth quarter 2011

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