AT&T bags 363,000 new customers ... where did THEY come from?

Profit, revenue etc all on the way up – but someone's losing


AT&T has had a jolly three months, banking $3.8bn in profits and adding 363,000 new contracts. But it remains unclear from whence those new customers have arrived.

Not only is the US's second-biggest network* growing, it's actually growing faster than it used to. AT&T's profit for the same quarter last year was a healthy $3.6bn, so topping by 200 million (on sales of $32.2bn) is an impressive achievement and one which comes from adding new customers as well as squeezing more money out of old ones.

The USA is getting more competitive. T-Mobile's discount offers gained it 685,000 new subscribers in its last quarter, subscribers who were popularly thought to have deserted AT&T, only they didn't. Churn (the rate at which customers leave and others join) is down too; by one per cent of one per cent to 1.07, but any downward trend is a good thing.

So roughly a million Americans have signed contracts with T-Mobile and AT&T, which either points to a population bulge of unprecedented proportions or someone else is losing out.

But AT&T has also got its wireless ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) up to $66.20, which is decent by American standards - about twice what we pay in the UK, as American's pay market rates for mobile data rather than having them subsidised by unsustainable voice revenue as we do.

Increased consumption of data is driven by increased ownership of smartphones, which now comprise 75 per cent of AT&T mobile users, but the company has also benefited from the popularity of its U-Verse broadband/TV offering which has hit ten million subscribers. U-Verse is a bundled offering, for TV, broadband and fixed telephone, though mobile remains out of the mix for the moment at least. ®

* Verizon Wireless, of course, is still very much on top.

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • FTC says Frontier lied about its internet speeds amid $8.5m settlement
    Telco 'ripped off customers by charging high-speed prices for slow service', says watchdog

    The FTC has settled a case in which Frontier Communications was accused of charging high prices for under-delivered internet connectivity.

    The US telecommunications giant has promised to be clearer with subscribers on connection speeds, and will cough up more than $8.5 million, or less than a day in annual profit, to end the matter.

    Frontier used to primarily pipe broadband over phone lines to people in rural areas, expanded to cities, and today supplies the usual fare to homes and businesses: fiber internet, TV, and phone services.

    Continue reading
  • Starlink's Portability mode lets you take your sat broadband dish anywhere*
    * Terms and so many conditions apply

    Starlink customers who've been itching to take their dish on the road can finally do so – for a price. 

    The Musk-owned satellite internet service provider quietly rolled out a feature this week called Portability which, for an additional $25 per month, will allow customers to take their service with them anywhere on the same continent – provided they can find a clear line-of-sight to the sky and the necessary power needed to keep the data flowing.

    That doesn't mean potential Starlink customers sign up for service in an area without a wait list and take their satellite to a more congested area. Sneaky, but you won't get away with it. If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service if there's not enough bandwidth to go around, or there's another outage.

    Continue reading
  • Timetable for industrial action ballot against BT imminent
    CWU deputy secretary demands better pay for staff amid cost-of-living crisis

    The Communication and Workers Union (CWU) will this week publish the timetable to run an industrial action ballot over the pay rise BT gave to members recently, with the telco's subsidiaries to vote separately.

    Earlier this month, BT paid its 58,000 frontline workers a flat rate increase of £1,500 ($1,930) for the year, upping it from the £1,200 ($1,545) initially offered. BT hadn't cleared this increase with the CWU, and the union branded the offer as unacceptable at a time when inflation in Britain is expected to soar by 10 percent this year.

    In a public town hall meeting last week, the CWU said it will take an "emergency motion" to the Annual Conference this week to "set out the exact ballot timetable," said Karen Rose, vice president at CWU.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022