AT&T Inc.

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  • Fri, Jan. 22, 5:51 PM
    • AT&T (T +1.7%) says it's expecting to record a gain of $2.2B in Q4, related to its annual remeasurement of pension and post-employment benefit plans.
    • Assumed discount rates rose to 4.6% for the pension obligation and 4.5% for post-retirement obligations, and the company updated other assumptions including mortality, and changes to demographics.
    • The gain is partly offset by adjustments related to asset returns less than the company's assumed rated of return, so it says the gain won't affect segment operating results or margins.
    | Fri, Jan. 22, 5:51 PM | 28 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 8:21 PM
    • Vodafone (VOD -2.1%) looks to be moving ahead with a public offering of its India wireless business -- a deal that could be a gateway to asset spinoffs or even more merger talk.
    • Heavy chatter about a merger with Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.5%) covered much of last year, though it pivoted to more modest talk of asset swaps in Europe before even those discussions were called off. A New Year's Eve report posited that merger talks were back on.
    • AT&T (T -1.7%) is said to be a prospective merger partner too, now that its acquisition of DirecTV is settled.
    • Vodafone still has a tax issue to sort out with India, and it could use a March spectrum auction to fill out local markets for 4G service. And then: "Statements made by Group CEO Vittorio Colao make us believe a listing in 2016 is not only possible ... but probable — especially as we expect outstanding tax cases to finally get resolved and missing 4G spectrum gaps filled," says Bernstein's Chris Lane.
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 8:21 PM | 7 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 10:45 AM
    • In the early months since AT&T's (T -1.6%) buyout of DirecTV wrapped last summer, CEO Randall Stephenson says it's going as planned and that the company is realizing its vision of combining wireless and video.
    • "Being really early, six months into it, I would tell you we're more enthusiastic about it today than we were when we first started it," he said at the World Economic Forum.
    • The company has gotten more active on cross-promotion, with a deal to reinstate unlimited wireless data (and unlimited video streaming) for customers who sign up for TV (U-verse or DirecTV), using a block of unused spectrum. The company hasn't said how long they would keep that offer open.
    • As for managing the cost of video demands over LTE: "Satellite is the most efficient video delivery technology known to man. Fiber being next, wireless probably being the highest. But at this stage, we're in a unique position by virtue of having the spectrum portfolio we have and so it's a position we're going to take advantage of."
    • He also sounded an upbeat tone about the company's moves in Mexico: "We came in and acquired two companies in Mexico, to go back into that market," he says. "Each of those deals were done in 30, 45 days ... it's an environment very receptive to investment, and the new regulatory environment they put in place gives us a lot of confidence." The company's investing in its nationwide LTE network there, he says: It's already deployed LTE to 40M people and will ultimately get LTE to 100M people in Mexico.
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 10:45 AM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 1:10 PM
    • Major League Baseball and broadcast partners Comcast (CMCSA +0.4%) and DirecTV (T +1.4%) have averted a trial scheduled for today, settling a class-action lawsuit over telecasts.
    • The suit, filed by baseball fans in 2012, argued that baseball's system for granting exclusive broadcast rights to regional networks was a violation of antitrust law, crimping choices and raising prices.
    • Over the winter, MLB said in a court filing that it would be making changes for 2016, introducing single-team streaming packages so out-of-market fans could follow their teams without paying for other games.
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 1:10 PM | 3 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM
    • Telefonica (TEF -3.5%) is expressing interest in buying Latin American assets from AT&T (T -0.9%) that could come to $10B in value, Reuters reports.
    • AT&T acquired the pay TV assets in its acquisition of DirecTV last year, and CEO Randall Stephenson said in December that the company would consider selling them but was in "no rush" and would be patient.
    • A source told Reuters that other parties were interested in specific country assets -- AT&T acquired services in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina among other countries -- so AT&T could run multiple sale processes and deal with a company like Liberty Global (LBTYA -4.7%).
    • Meanwhile, Telefonica has been making portfolio changes but against some €50B in debt (about $54B). It's looking to sell Spanish infrastructure and agreed to sell its O2 business in the UK to CK Hutchison holdings for $15B.
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM | 4 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 5:32 PM
    • Sprint (S -9.9%) has a "radical" plan to overhaul its cell network that could save up to $1B -- but might result in hiccups along the way.
    • The carrier plans to relocate radio equipment from towers leased from private companies, namely Crown Castle (CCI -5.8%) and American Tower (AMT -4.2%), onto cheaper properties owned by the government, Re/code reports.
    • It's also hoping to reduce its dependency on backhaul from AT&T (T -0.9%) and Verizon (VZ -1%) by using microwave technology a la Clearwire instead. The company cuts annual checks of $1B for backhaul to the two rivals.
    • One source says the company's "Next Generation Network" will result in a new wave of disruptions and could end up with less coverage in regions where Sprint has few subscribers: “Getting there is going to be a nightmare ... It’s going to be very, very disruptive.”
    • Sprint will lease towers from privately held Mobilitie, which will locate where possible on government-owned ROW.
    • “Sprint’s plan is not for the faint of heart,” Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche writes in a note. “Sprint needs to be solely focused on avoiding mistakes of the past, where network overhauls caused major disruptions in the network’s performance.”
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 5:32 PM | 107 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 14, 12:57 PM
    • AT&T (T +1.7%) says it's looking to hire nearly 300 people in Missouri and Kansas, part of a continuing investment in the Midwest region.
    • The jobs are mainly technicians and retail support, and more than half of the available jobs in the region are located in the Kansas City metro.
    • The company has invested more than $2.5B into wireless and wireline networks in the two states from 2012-2014.
    | Thu, Jan. 14, 12:57 PM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 11, 9:06 AM
    • With the unlimited data plan slowly dying among U.S. wireless providers, AT&T (NYSE:T) is bringing it back -- but as a promotion to boost its TV business.
    • Shares are up 0.5% in premarket action.
    • The company is offering its first chance in five years to sign up for unlimited wireless data, provided customers commit to DirecTV or U-verse.
    • Subscribers can get the wireless plan for $100/month, with additional smartphones at $40. A fourth smartphone can be added for no extra cost.
    • The move hints at a response to T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), which has made video streaming free on its wireless platform via a "Binge On" promotion, as well as to Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) Go90 video service. AT&T confirms it "plans to launch a wide-range of new video entertainment options later this year."
    • Sprint (NYSE:S), along with T-Mobile, still offers an unlimited option, though it raised its price on the plan in September. AT&T raised prices on its grandfathered unlimited plans in November, following Verizon's increase in October.
    | Mon, Jan. 11, 9:06 AM | 17 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 6, 3:06 PM
    • AT&T (T -0.4%) is suggesting it's interested in putting up a challenge to Verizon (VZ -1.4%) over FirstNet -- the government's public-safety wireless broadband network focused on first responders, where Verizon has been widely considered a solid front-runner.
    • The request for proposals is expected this month on a project that could cost $20B-$30B. RFPs were originally expected by the end of 2015, and are likely to target only "national deployment" offers, meaning a winner-take-all scenario.
    • At Citi's investor conference, AT&T's John Donovan says the FirstNet contract is a "rare event" and a "good opportunity for us."
    • "The timing of the spectrum, the position of the spectrum, the customer opportunity that comes with it — it's a rare event, so we're going to pursue it aggressively," Donovan said.
    • Verizon has been considered in strong position for the deal because it has an existing rural partnership program around its 700 MHz spectrum.
    • The FirstNet decision is likely to come after March 29's FCC broadcast incentive auction.
    • Previously: Verizon likely frontrunner for government's FirstNet project (Oct. 12 2015)
    | Wed, Jan. 6, 3:06 PM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 5, 3:49 AM
    • New York City will begin this month replacing thousands of pay phones with free Wi-Fi hot spots that will sit atop a 9.5-foot tall box featuring electronic advertising screens and an Android tablet that can be used to place free phone calls.
    • The $200M project, called LinkNYC, is being run by CityBridge, a joint venture between three tech companies: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), CIVIQ Smartscapes, and Intersection (which has backing from Alphabet).
    • "Free abundant Wi-Fi at those speeds could give people living in NYC, the country's largest market, a reason to spend less on wireless data services from carriers such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T)," said Craig Moffett, senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson.
    | Tue, Jan. 5, 3:49 AM | 20 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 9:02 AM
    • December monthly performance was: -0.5%
    • AUM of $1.74B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -3%
    • $0.25 in dividends were paid in December
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 11/30/2015: Apple Inc (AAPL): 3.5%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 3.48%, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 3.24%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.13%, AT&T Inc (T): 2.94%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 2.68%, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 2.24%, Wells Fargo & Co (WFC): 2.19%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 2.12%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.04%
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 9:02 AM
  • Sun, Jan. 3, 9:16 AM
    • When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines 18 months ago regarding the radiation risk from cellphones, it used unusually bold language: "We recommend caution in cellphone use."
    • Within weeks, though, the CDC reversed course. It no longer recommended caution, and deleted a passage specifically addressing potential risks for children.
    • Mainstream scientific consensus currently holds that there is little to no evidence that cellphone signals raise the risk of brain cancer or other health problems. Nevertheless, more than 500 pages of internal records obtained by NYT, along with interviews with former agency officials, reveal a debate and some disagreement among scientists and health agencies about what guidance to give as the use of mobile devices skyrockets.
    | Sun, Jan. 3, 9:16 AM | 141 Comments
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 5:13 PM
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) ended the year as the big winner among the U.S. wireless big four, finishing up 45% for 2015. AT&T was the only other to gain, and was up 2.4% for the year.
    • Looking ahead, T-Mobile is already hoping to make a splash in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction of wireless airwaves, with CEO John Legere looking to be a "winner."
    • "The lowband spectrum auctions will be the most important in recent U.S. history and will shape the future of the wireless industry for decades to come," Legere writes. "I predict that T-Mobile will walk away a winner."
    • AT&T (T -1%) and Verizon (VZ -1.2%) will have more money to spend in the auction, but likely less interest, as both built their LTE networks on "beachfront" 700 MHz spectrum.
    • Wells Fargo, though, has predicted that AT&T will spend the most (along with Verizon spending the least) in the sale. Sprint (S -0.3%; down 12.8% this year) has said it will sit it out.
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 5:13 PM | 21 Comments
  • Dec. 30, 2015, 3:43 PM
    • In a "pricing simplification effort," AT&T (T -0.4%) is joining other carriers in dropping two-year wireless contracts.
    • The move, effective Jan. 8, means that retail customers will only get new phones by paying for them upfront or via an installment plan. AT&T's language suggests that some business accounts will still be able to get contract and subsidy: “With $0 down for well-qualified customers, the ability to upgrade early and down-payment options available with even lower monthly installments, our customers are overwhelmingly choosing AT&T Next ... Starting January 8, AT&T Next will be the primary way to get a new smartphone at AT&T.”
    • While pricing has remained fairly stable as wireless carriers move to the installment-buying model, the more interesting question may be whether consumers slow their phone upgrade cycles. The lack of two-year contract subsidies introduces incentives to hold phones longer, while all carriers now have early-upgrade programs that mitigate that effect somewhat.
    | Dec. 30, 2015, 3:43 PM | 34 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2015, 2:21 PM
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) declares $0.48/share quarterly dividend, 2.1% increase from prior dividend of $0.47.
    • Forward yield 5.66%
    • Payable Feb. 1; for shareholders of record Jan. 8; ex-div Jan. 6.
    | Dec. 18, 2015, 2:21 PM | 51 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2015, 10:25 AM
    • Mexico's regulator has signed off on some frequency swaps and a spectrum rental between AT&T (T -0.3%) and Telefonica (TEF -3%).
    • The country's Federal Telecommunications Institute -- created as part of regulatory reform to spur competition with dominant firm America Movil (AMX -1.5%) -- OK'd the deal that will allow AT&T to use airwaves in the 1.7/2.1 GHz frequency band in some areas, while Telefonica can use it in the 1.9 GHz band.
    | Dec. 18, 2015, 10:25 AM | 6 Comments
Company Description
AT&T Inc, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the United States and internationally. The Company has three reportable segments: Wireless, Wireline, and Other.