While the market was bracing for the worst, telecom giant AT&T
AT&T reported fourth-quarter revenue of $30.4 billion, which is up 3% from last year when compared with consolidated results from the mergers of BellSouth and Cingular Wireless. The bottom line swelled to $3.1 billion, or $0.51 per share, after taking into account merger costs that sapped $0.19 per share in the quarter.
The wireless business continued to shine this quarter, as AT&T stomped on rivals Sprint Nextel
Other wireless metrics fared well, too -- churn came in at 1.7%, while ARPU bumped up nearly 2% to $50.28. AT&T also now has its U-verse broadband video offering deployed to 231,000 customers and believes it is on track for its goal of 1 million-plus subscribers by the end of 2008.
Along with the progress on the U-verse buildout, recent news that the company will give free Wi-Fi hotspot access to all broadband customers marks a significant effort to jump ahead of competition. AT&T wants to offer complete, bundled service packages that include video and television services, to compete with cable concerns such as Comcast
So after CEO Randall Stephenson fanned fears a few weeks ago when he alluded to some impact from a softening consumer market, investors digested yesterday's results and breathed a little easier after finding that the sky wasn't really falling after all. With AT&T reiterating its 2008 growth targets, investors may want to consider that the economy really isn't as bad off as many (including Ben Bernanke) are saying.
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