Earlier this week, Verizon reported a loss of 225,000 postpaid consumer phone subscribers during the first quarter of the year. While the nation's largest carrier was losing subscribers in this category, AT&T reported a gain of 595,000 postpaid phone net additions during the opening three months of the year. As a result, AT&T closed its gap with Verizon in this important metric by 820,000 subscribers.
AT&T CEO John Stanky said, "We continued to excel in growing customer relationships in our market focus areas of mobility, fiber, and HBO Max. We had another strong quarter of postpaid phone net adds, higher gross adds, lower churn, and good growth in Mobility EBITDA." For AT&T it was the strongest first quarter for wireless postpaid phone net additions in a decade.
In addition to the 595,000 in postpaid phone net additions, AT&T reported 823,000 postpaid net additions and 207,000 prepaid phone net additions. Yes, it was a good quarter for AT&T all around and postpaid phone churn was .76% (down 10 basis points from last year's .86%). Mobility revenue reached $19 billion during the three months for a gain of 9.4% on an annual basis, service revenues were up .6% to $14 billion and led by higher priced smartphones, equipment revenue soared 45.2% year-over-year to $5 billion.
For the first quarter, the wireless provider announced $6 billion in operating income up 3.7% on an annual basis. Operating income margin weighed in at 31.5% down from a margin of 33.3% during last year's first quarter.
T-Mobile, which has been on a long roll, is expected to report its first quarter earnings on May 5th. For 28 consecutive quarters T-Mobile has led the industry in wireless postpaid phone net additions. Will the streak continue? We will know in approximately two weeks.