AT&T loses 268,000 net postpaid phone subscribers during the third quarter

AT&T loses 268,000 net postpaid phone subscribers during the third quarter
The nation's second largest carrier, AT&T, released its third quarter earnings today. In the process, the company announced that it lost 268,000 net postpaid phone subscribers during the three months that ended in September. AT&T brushed it off, saying that most of those subscribers it lost were feature phone users generating a low amount of average revenue each month. AT&T praised its "strong" U.S. wireless operating margin of 29.6%. It also had its best ever U.S. wireless service EBITDA margin of 50.1%.

The company added 1.5 million net wireless customers broken down in this manner; 212,000 net additions were postpaid subscribers, while 304,000 net adds were pre-paid users. 1.3 million net new connected devices joined the rolls last quarter, and 315,000 reseller subscribers were lost. 299,000 postpaid tablet subscribers were added.

AT&T wasn't expected to report its third quarter results until Tuesday, but the weekend announcement of its $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner gave the company an opportunity to release the numbers along with the particulars of the acquisition. As for the drop in postpaid net phone subscribers, Deutsche Bank said it was in line with its estimates of a 275,000 decline, but was worse than Wall Street's expectations of a 226,000 subscriber drop. 700,000 smartphones were added to AT&T's customer base during the three month period.

AT&T isn't the only carrier to report a Q3 decline in what many consider the most important metric. After all, Verizon lost 36,000 net postpaid phone subscribers from July through September. On the other hand, T-Mobile today said it had 851,000 branded postpaid phone net additions, making it the leader in the industry for 11 consecutive quarters. Sprint also reported last week that on a preliminary basis, it added a net 347,000 postpaid phone subscribers to its rolls during its fiscal second quarter which ended last month. The final figures are due out tomorrow.

Returning to AT&T, the company counted 6.7 million subscribers with an unlimited plan as of the end of the quarter. That is up 34% sequentially from the 5 million unlimited subscribers the carrier had as of the end of June. To be eligible for unlimited wireless service from AT&T, you must be signed up for both cellular service and DirecTV.

Postpaid churn was down 11 basis points at 1.05%. Postpaid phone churn also declined, to .9%. Average Revenue per User (ARPU) for wireless declined slightly to $37.65. ARPU for postpaid subscribers also declined slightly, to $54.67.

With DirecTV added, revenue for the quarter was $40.9 billion for a 4.6% gain. Net income rose 11.2%

Investors were not terribly pleased with the results as AT&T's shares declined 1.7%, or 63 cents on the day, to $36.86.

source: AT&T via FierceWireless

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23 Comments

1. torr310

Posts: 1646; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Wish they become the 4th largest carrier soon... They have way too much money!

2. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They really do lol.

3. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

They are 2nd evil to the king. Verizon.

4. Derekjeter

Posts: 1467; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

AT&T is the best carrier out now. They don't nickel and dime for their services like T-Mobile or Verizon. AT&T has truly unlimited data. They better coverage than T-Mobile. The price is abou the same and they have so much content to stream with out hurting the data for those who don't have unlimited. Besides I love watching Sunday NFL ticket when I'm not home. f**k those fools above talking s**t. The subcribers that left will come back when they see how bad T-Mobile coverage sucks and how much more Verizon bill will be . AT&T FTW!!!

5. Bernoulli

Posts: 4359; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Truly unlimited data? I take it as you either 1. Don't know how to read, or else you'd know that at&t deprioritizes your ass if you're using over 21 gigabytes a month or 2. You've never had unlimited and use less than 21 gigabytes a month. Am not a fan of American football so I can't relate to your second part, but am sure you can watch this at your local buffalo wild wings or something, with friends and alcohol like a true sportsman.

8. Derekjeter

Posts: 1467; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Yes it's truly unlimited! I use about 256gig a month and they have never throttled me or anybody in my account. And the wording says they might throttle but I have never heard anyone complaining. ATT bro get used to it.

12. Bernoulli

Posts: 4359; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

I don't even use a third of that on mobile, you sire don't have a life if you burn through this much data. I'll just save my words.

14. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

I agree with most what you have to say. It's awesome now stream Directv and Sunday Ticket data free. I jumped on the Unlimited when it relaunched to Directv customers. Now, I have passed 22GBS a few times by only a little. Last Month after I moved my Netflix back on my laptop to Unlimited to get the best picture, it also moved my Mobile setting too. My phone didn't connect to wifi and my daughter was watching a few shows. Then I get a message that I am at 16.5GBs and will get reduced to 128K until my bill cycle reset. I didn't push it and stayed under to avoid throttling. It do know others who have hit 100GBS. I am still baffled how you use that much:

15. ePoch270

Posts: 193; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

How the f**k do you use 256gb a month?That's insane.

23. Junito

Posts: 144; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

What the heck? are you streaming everyday of your life 2K content? Not being critical. I'm lucky if I use 3GB a month.

9. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

You might want to really read it yourself. After 22GB of data usage on a line in a bill cycle, AT&T may slow data speeds on that line when the network is congested. If congestion ends or you move to an uncongested site, speed will no longer be affected.

13. Bernoulli

Posts: 4359; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Am glad that you know what deprioritization is, which is what I said.

7. Colombianmax

Posts: 52; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

lol.. while T-Mobile might not have as much coverage as dumb and dumber-yet... I can tell you that on a recent roadtrip to a small town away from the city with some good buddies of mine, the three of us ran our speedtest.net app and checked what we were gettings. Me on T-Mobile (HTC10), Friend 2 on AT&T (Sony Xperia X Performance) and Friend 3 on Verizon (Moto Droid __ ) all three of us were on LTE, none of us roaming. T-Mo = 37.xx Mbps/17.xx Mbps AT&T= 16.xx Mbps/6.xx Mbps Verizon= 15.xx Mbps/ 8 Mbps I know this is just ONE example, but this is a scenario where even in the middle of nowhere (considering last time I was there, there was no T-Mo signal) T-Mo blew away both Verizon and your favorite carrier away. It will probably be a few years before it can truly rival on a coverage level but speed and price, it dominates the other 3 players, I dont care what you say. Out of the 4 carriers, it offers value.

11. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

In my area, T-Mobile barely hits 3.5mbps on their LTE, where Verizon hits 50mbps easily. Coverage is also half that of Verizon here. You're right, that's not just one example, it's also rarely the case anywhere else.

18. phldlphn unregistered

I wouldn't say it's rare. I have a better example. If you couldn't tell from my name and picture I am from Philadelphia. I was out at a sports bar with my friends and my pal recently started working for T-Mobile. He had a Note 5, as did I. I have Verizon. We did a speedtest and he was pushing 60mbps while my Verizon was a shameful 6-7 mbps. I can understand a small difference, but 50 mbps, kind of ridiculous.

20. Acdc1a

Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Rarely the case? Hardly. NYC, Detroit, San Fran, Miami and that's just naming the cities off the top of my head where T-Mobile blows Big Red out of the water.

22. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Dont Forget LOS angeles ! Tmobile also beats verizon . in terms of speed . Tmobile up to 80 verizon tops out at 40 .

6. sissy246

Posts: 7083; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I have att and there is 4 of us on my bill. We share 10 gb of fast data and then once we use that it goes to the lower speed unlimited . Well we have used the 10 gb of data and we can not really tell that much difference in the slower speed at all. We still play are games with no problems. We do all have newer phones a s6, s6 active, note 5 and a s7 edge so maybe that has something to do with them not being slow.

10. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

I have 4 lines with the DIRECTV deal. Last month 29gb me, wife 17gb, son 27gb, daughter 24. All 4 of us well over the 22GB. No one got throttled. $180.00. Also the DIRECTV app on our phones DO NOT count against data.

21. Acdc1a

Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

I'm at $140 for 4 lines at T-Mobile and service is quite comparable in South Florida. Unlimited is quite nice and everyone should be thankful to T-Mobile and Sprint for pushing it.

16. mahima

Posts: 727; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

and in india, we have free unlimited calls and 4g net until dec 31. true unlimited for those who registered early and 4gb daily free for those who are a little bit late(speed reduced after that) and all of these for free sim!!! you just have to registered to get free sim!

17. mahima

Posts: 727; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

and in india, we have free unlimited calls and 4g net until dec 31. true unlimited for those who registered early and 4gb daily free for those who are a little bit late(speed reduced after that) and all of these for free sim!!! you just have to registered to get free sim!

19. Ticklemyfancy

Posts: 214; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

Jio is so damn slow for browsing!

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