What happened

Shares of telecom giant AT&T (NYSE:T) fell as much as 5.5% lower on Wednesday morning following the release of fourth-quarter results that didn't exactly impress investors. By 11:30 a.m. EST, Ma Bell's stock had recovered slightly to a 3.7% total decline.

So what

AT&T's adjusted earnings rose 10% year over year to land at $0.86 per diluted share. Revenues grew 15% stronger to $48.0 billion. Your average Wall Street analyst had been looking for earnings near $0.86 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $48.5 billion. The company added 39,000 net new subscribers in the fourth quarter under its branded mobile service plans, down from 698,000 additions in the year-ago period.

Young man holding his smartphone in one hand and facepalming with his other hand.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Wireless revenues fell 2.1% year over year as AT&T's customers moved away from its profitable postpaid service contracts in favor of lower-cost prepaid plans. Operating revenues per connected device -- including everything from smartphones to Internet of Things devices -- fell 26% to $122 per device per month.

Moreover, AT&T's revenue growth stems largely from last year's acquisition of media studio Time Warner. Without that instant shot of top-line adrenaline, AT&T's core revenues from the mobile network fell 2.1% below the year-ago period's results.

It's no surprise to see investors shying away from AT&T's uninspiring business trends today.

Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.