AT&T adds 264,000 TV users, changes U-verse goal

IPTV subscriber numbers were among the highlights of AT&T fourth-quarter earnings announced today. The telco added 264,000 TV customers, 31,000 more than it added in the third quarter of 2008, and well above the 105,000 subscribers AT&T added in the fourth quarter of 2007. This growth, along with Verizon Communications's impressive TV subscriber growth in the fourth quarter, should sooth some worries that telco TV sign-ups are losing steam. AT&T's U-verse network now passes more than 17 million living units.

The ongoing growth in U-verse TV customers may not distract observers from the company's 23.6 percent profit drop during the fourth quarter, and while AT&T touted strength in several areas, it acknowledged ongoing market uncertainty. It plans to cut capex spending this year by at least 10 percent, and it also is pushing out its homes-passed goal for U-verse: It had planned to reach 30 million living units by the end of 2010, but said today that the target date is now the end of 2011. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson called this the company's "original" target, and one which will allow the telco to better manage its resources.

AT&T CFO Rick Lindner added that AT&T still will push U-verse to its "highest priority" markets, many in the Southeast, in the next year or so, and that it has "a good base of homes to sell into."

For more:
- FierceTelecom has the earnings news
- Telephony reports on the U-verse change

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