39% Annualized Return And AT&T
Chris DeMuth Jr. • 175 Comments
Chris DeMuth Jr. • 175 Comments
Going Long Leap Wireless: More Than A Leap Of Faith
Helix Investment Research
Helix Investment Research
Jan. 27, 2015, 4:30 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) expects a 2015 of "continued consolidated revenue growth" and adjusted EPS growth "in the low single-digit range" while improving free cash flow and dividend coverage.
- The company noted revenue gains of 4.5% after adjusting for Connecticut wireline property sale, highlighted by total wireless revenues that grew 7.7% to $19.9B. Wireline revenues gained 0.4% to $14.6B.
- Wireless service revenues were down again, -3.7% to $15.1B, on "continued customer growth of Mobile Share Value plans." Wireless operating income -18.1% to $3.2B; Phone-only postpaid ARPU dropped 10.7% Y/Y.
- For the full year, revenues of $132.4B were up 2.8% from 2013 (3.1% when excluding Connecticut wireline divestments) and EPS was up fractionally to $2.51 from $2.50. Full-year cash from operations was $31.3B; capex of $21.4B.
- Stock up 1.7% after hours.
- Conference call starts at 4:30.
- Q4 results
Jan. 27, 2015, 4:04 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T): Q4 EPS of $0.55 in-line.
- Revenue of $34.4B (+3.7% Y/Y) beats by $140M.
- Shares +0.46%.
Jan. 26, 2015, 5:35 PM
Jan. 26, 2015, 7:39 AM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) agrees to acquire Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings and its network of ~76M people in the Mexican wireless network for $1.875B.
- AT&T plans to integrate Nextel Mexico with Iusacell, which AT&T agreed to buy last year in a deal valued at $2.5B at the time.
- The acquisition is subject to a bankruptcy auction and approvals by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, which is currently overseeing the restructuring of NII Holdings; the deal also is subject to regulatory approval by Mexico's telecom regulator.
Jan. 26, 2015, 1:57 AM
- Not only is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) preparing a new cellphone service that will dial up pressure on the wireless industry’s business model, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) is also prepping one.
- Google’s new package will hunt through cellular connections provided by Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and WiFi "hot spots," picking whichever offers the best signal to route calls, texts and data, WSJ reports.
- Meanwhile, Cablevision will start offering Freewheel next month, a WiFi-only mobile-phone service.
- Such services pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
- Previously: Report: Google to sell phone plans via Sprint, T-Mobile (Jan. 21 2015)
- Previously: Analysis: Cable WiFi services to go mainstream (Oct. 06 2014)
Jan. 22, 2015, 11:04 AM
- AT&T (T -1.7%) and Sprint (S -2.5%) are joining Verizon in selling off (in spite of a market rally) after Big Red reported 2M Q4 postpaid net adds (including 672K phone adds), but also stated its wireless service revenue growth fell to 2.8% from Q3's 4.8% and that wireless EBITDA margin fell to 42% from 47% a year ago. Verizon also disclosed retail postpaid churn rose to 1.14% from 0.96% a year ago.
- Verizon's service growth, margin, and churn reflect both strong phone upgrade activity (due to iPhone 6 sales and phone upgrade plan adoption) and a U.S. mobile price war that isn't showing any signs of letting up as 2015 commences.
- Meanwhile, Verizon's Q4 postpaid adds, together with T-Mobile's strong Q4 adds, suggest AT&T may have joined Sprint in losing postpaid phone subscriber share during the quarter. Sprint has said it added 30K postpaid subs in calendar Q4 - postpaid phone adds were apparently still negative - and AT&T disclosed last month churn is trending higher in Q4.
- AT&T reports on Jan. 27, and Sprint on Feb. 5. Sprint jumped in the final minutes of trading yesterday on a report that Google is getting ready to sell phone plans on an MVNO basis while using Sprint and T-Mobile's networks.
Jan. 21, 2015, 4:09 PM
- Two day after reporting on Google's (GOOG +2.2%) SpaceX investment (confirmed a day later), The Information reports Google (GOOG +2.2%) is getting ready to "sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network."
- Google won't be building its own network, but will instead operate as an MVNO leveraging Sprint (S +5.8%) and T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) networks. Deals for wholesale network access are reportedly on the way. Sprint and (to a lesser extent) T-Mobile have caught a bid on the report.
- Becoming a U.S. mobile carrier with Sprint/T-Mobile's help risks upsetting AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who still tower over the local telecom landscape. However, it also gives Google a chance to experiment with novel/low-cost service plans, perhaps with the hope that other carriers (in the U.S. and elsewhere) will follow suit. Google also might be betting Android is too well-entrenched at this point for AT&T and/or Verizon to respond too harshly.
- Last April, The Information reported Google has discussed offering mobile services in Google Fiber markets. Q4 results arrive in eight days.
- Update: The WSJ is backing up The Information's report. It adds Sprint is "hedging its bet by putting a volume trigger into the [Google] contract that would allow the deal to be renegotiated if Google’s customer base swells."
Jan. 20, 2015, 10:41 AM
- DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) increases the price of NFL Sunday Ticket by 5% to a base rate of $251.94.
- The premium package is 7% higher at $353.94.
- Previously: DirecTV reaches Sunday Ticket deal, removes AT&T deal hurdle (Oct. 01 2014)
- Previously: DirecTV might have a fantasy plan (Nov. 25 2014)
Jan. 18, 2015, 12:57 PM
- TechCrunch reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is interested in acquiring Softcard, the mobile payments platform launched by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in 2010 - it was previously known as Isis, before changing its name for obvious reasons. Though Softcard's owners have invested hundreds of millions in the venture, sources state Google's purchase price could be below $100M.
- Like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Softcard relies on NFC radios to enable transactions. And like Wallet, it has struggled to get off the ground, as U.S. consumers overwhelmingly stick with card swipes. Hard data on Apple Pay usage remains limited for now.
- Softcard recently laid off 60 employees. Meanwhile, it was reported in 2013 that Google had spent $300M on Wallet-related acquisitions, with little to show for it. The adoption of EMV (chip-and-PIN) readers by U.S. retailers could give NFC solutions a boost, by making card payments a little less convenient.
- The WSJ reports Google is partnering with consulting giant PwC to bid on a $2B+ contract to update the DoD's electronic health records system. PwC says Google's tools could both improve the system's security and performance, and lower costs. A group featuring IBM, HP (NYSE:HPQ), and CSC has made a rival bid.
- Ad tech firm Marin Software (NYSE:MRIN) provides some encouraging mobile search data ahead of Google's Jan. 29 Q4 report. A Marin study found mobile accounted for 49% of Q4 U.S. search ad spend, up from 42% in Q3, and that smartphone ad click rates were 38% higher than PC rates (thanks in part to accidental clicks?). On the other hand, mobile still only accounted for 32% of conversions.
- Medium writer Backchannel provides a deep dive into Google Search's evolution in an era where users increasingly want search engines to know the precise meaning of their queries. Part 1 looks at Google's efforts to optimize for mobile (aided by its Knowledge Graph and Google Now). Part 2 looks at Google's real-world research into the information needs of users. Part 3 looks at Google's investments in A.I./deep learning to deliver far more intelligent search results and spontaneously surface useful information.
Jan. 16, 2015, 6:15 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) says in an SEC filing that it will record $10B in non-cash charges for Q4, with $7.9B related to changes in its pension and retiree benefit plans and the remaining $2.1B because certain copper assets are no longer needed as customer demand declines for older voice and data products.
- AT&T says none of the charges will affect segment operating results or margins.
- Shares -1.2% AH.
Jan. 16, 2015, 2:59 PM
- AT&T's (T +1.6%) $2.5B purchase of Mexican mobile carrier Iusacell is officially on the books. Ma Bell has used the occasion to reiterate the merger will allow it to offer cross-border mobile services. "It won't matter which country you're in or which country you're calling it will all be one network, one customer experience."
- AT&T has also announced Thaddeus Arroyo, formerly the president of AT&T's Technology Development unit and before that its CIO, will run Iusacell. Adrian Steckel, until now Iusacell's CEO, will "assist Arroyo with the integration of Iusacell into AT&T."
- Separately, Reuters reports China Telecom (CHA -2.2%) is "preparing a possible bid" to build and run a Mexican wholesale mobile network expected to cost $10B over 10 years. The network, mandated by Mexico's 2013 telecom reform bill, aims to allow America Movil's (AMX -0.6%) rivals (such as Iusacell) to provide better coverage without having to rely on AMX, which is still looking for a buyer for the Mexican assets it's shedding to bring its share below 50%.
Jan. 14, 2015, 4:08 AM
- Building on his previous call for the FCC to regulate broadband service as a utility, President Obama will push the FCC today to overturn state laws that prevent cities from building their own broadband networks.
- The centerpiece of the initiative is a call for the FCC to pre-empt laws in 19 states that can prevent cities and localities from building their own high-speed broadband networks.
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has already indicated that he is strongly considering the move.
- Related Tickers: CMCSA, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK
Jan. 9, 2015, 5:00 AM
- Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa (NYSE:TV) has completed the sale of its 50% stake in mobile operator Iusacell to JV partner Grupo Salinas, clearing the way for AT&T (NYSE:T) to acquire the cellphone company.
- Televisa used some of the proceeds from the $717M sale to buy Mexican cable company Cablevision Red, a regional operator with around 650K subscriptions, for about 3B pesos ($204M).
- Previously: AT&T receives approval for Iusacell deal (Dec. 22 2014)
Jan. 7, 2015, 12:01 PM
- As John Legere recently predicted, AT&T (T -1.7%) has followed T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) lead in allowing users to roll over unused mobile data, but with some fine print attached: While T-Mobile is letting Simple Choice plan users roll over unused data for up to 12 months, AT&T is only letting Mobile Share Value plan users roll over for one month.
- The announcement comes on a morning where T-Mobile reported 1.28M Q4 branded postpaid subscriber adds (1.04M phone, 239K mobile broadband). AT&T, which reports on Jan. 27, had 785K postpaid net adds in Q3 (~450K from tablets and "computing devices")
- The rollover announcement follows AT&T's launch of new enterprise machine-to-machine (M2M) data services and developer tools at CES, and a deal with theft-recovery service leader LoJack to power its telematics services for cars and commercial fleets. AT&T added over 500K connected car subscriptions in Q3.
- Shares are lower as a result of trading ex-dividend.
Dec. 31, 2014, 2:31 PM
- "AT&T (T -1.1%) will find new ways to cause their customers pain [in 2015] - especially those still on grandfathered unlimited plans," predicts T-Mobile (TMUS +0.3%) CEO John Legere, feisty as ever while making his 2015 predictions. The FTC recently sued AT&T for throttling the data speeds of unlimited plan users.
- Legere, whose company has unleashed a margin-crimping price war against over the last two years, also forecasts AT&T will launch a "knock off" version of T-Mobile's Data Stash feature, which lets users roll over unused data from monthly buckets for up to 12 months. "The fine print will be massive, and they’ll miss the first and most important step in the process – which is to stop punishing their customers with domestic overages and instead get rid of them."
- He isn't any kinder to Verizon (VZ -0.8%), predicting Big Red will "keep trying to baffle American wireless customers with BS promos, like the one they did this year telling customers they could get a free iPhone 6 (don’t forget to read the small print!), as well as misleading advertising about everything from coverage maps to device trade-ins."
- As for share-losing Sprint (S +0.6%), Legere sees them "continue throwing out campaigns, offers and promotions – anything to see if it sticks." By mid-year, he expects the carrier to "realize they can’t slash their way to growth and start to invest in their network and customer care."
- Two things Legere has kind words for (besides T-Mobile): 1) Apple Watch (NASDAQ:AAPL), which he predicts will "mark the tipping point when wearables go from niche to mainstream." 2) Phablets, which he expects will see 50% sales growth next year and thereby boost data usage.
- One positive prediction for the industry in general: Legere forecasts 2/3 of devices sold next year by carriers will be subsidy-free, up from 41% in 2014. The margin improvement that has come from moving customers from subsidies to early-upgrade and installment plans has been a silver lining for the industry during its price war.
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
AT&T, Inc. provides telecommunication services and products, including wireless communications, local exchange services, long-distance services, data/broadband and Internet services, video services, telecommunications equipment, managed networking and wholesale services. It operates business... More
Industry: Telecom Services - Domestic
Country: United States
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