Thu, Jun. 25, 3:26 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) is up 1.7% as Bank of America has upgraded shares to Buy, from Neutral, and raised the price target to $40 from $35.
- Shares are trading currently at $36.40.
- The company also plans to invest about $3B into Mexico by the end of 2018, to stretch mobile Internet coverage to 100M people, CEO Randall Stephenson said while meeting with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto.
- AT&T plans to cover 40M subscribers (about a third of the population) within six months, and 75M by the end of 2016.
- Earlier this year, AT&T made its major move into the market with $4.4B in investments to acquire the country's No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers, Iusacell and Nextel Mexico.
- Stephenson credited reforms introduced by Peña Nieto for allowing AT&T to invest in Mexico.
- New plans are coming next month to allow Mexican customers to use its North American Mobile Service Area.
Thu, Jun. 25, 2:35 PM
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that he is circulating a draft with changes to the spectrum bidding procedures ahead of an open meeting designed to "revamp our outdated spectrum auction bidding policies" and help small businesses in the mobile marketplace.
- Notably, he proposes a first-ever cap on total bidding credits, reducing an incentive for large corporations to game the system: "We will not allow small businesses to serve as a stalking horse for another party." (Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) was loudly criticized by rivals after using designated entities to bid for $13.3B in spectrum with a $10B payment; AT&T (NYSE:T) had proposed a much smaller cap of $10M.)
- And he's sticking to the previous 30 MHz set-aside for smaller firms, though key "smaller firms" like Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) had pressed for a larger set-aside of as much as 40 MHz (in T-Mobile's case, with an aggressive media campaign).
- He also recommends dropping a requirement for small businesses to offer facilities-based wireless in order to qualify for bidding credits, and to create a new rural business bidding credit.
- More FCC auction coverage
Tue, Jun. 23, 3:43 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS +0.9%) is keeping up the (spectrum) pressure, asking the FCC to block a low-band spectrum purchase by AT&T (T +2.9%) from East Kentucky Network, using the agency's "public-interest" mandate.
- AT&T, it said, had failed to meet "applicable heightened standards for demonstrating that the proposed transaction is in the public interest when balanced with the serious anticompetitive risks posed by the increased concentration of below-1-GHz spectrum."
- Keeping up a multi-front attack, T-Mobile's also teasing a new set of Un-carrier updates -- "Un-carrier Amped" -- starting this Thursday.
- Meanwhile, it's also made a literally comical new video in its fight over spectrum set-asides, portraying the company and the "FCC Five" as superheroes trying to defeat a villainous duopoly.
- Previously: Bloomberg: FCC Chairman urging rejection of T-Mobile spectrum appeal (Jun. 17 2015)
Tue, Jun. 23, 9:30 AM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) is up 1.6% premarket following a Barclays upgrade to Overweight where they note "multiple levers" driving profitability.
- Amir Rozwadowski lifted the firm's price target on the telecom to $39, from $34. Premarket, the stock is trading at $35.60.
- "The number of levers (i.e. revenue and cost synergies) that could positively impact AT&T's bottom line post the imminent close of the DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) transaction are too material to ignore," he says, noting declining concerns both externally and internally.
- AT&T may be among the companies best positioned for a cycle of favorable earnings revisions, and he notes management has already raised expectations for deal cost synergies ($2.5B vs. previous $1.6B) but "further opportunities exist specifically around reduced investment in legacy access infrastructure."
- UBS also upgraded AT&T shares to Buy this morning.
Fri, Jun. 19, 12:01 PM
- Sprint (S +0.3%) is taking its "cut your bill in half" strategy to prepaid, with a new promotion at its Boost Mobile unit targeting customers of Cricket (NYSE:T) and MetroPCS (TMUS -0.5%).
- The plan is targeting halving customers' bills, for an initial 12 months, across a variety of prepaid plans. Comparing with Cricket's $40/2.5 Gb of high-speed data and MetroPCS's $40/2 Gb, Boost is offering 2.5 Gb for $20/month.
- After 12 months, customers would then migrate to the comparable regular Boost plan (In the case of 2 Gb, for $30/month if signing up for automatic payment).
Thu, Jun. 18, 6:33 PM
- AT&T's (NYSE:T) long game in Latin America is getting a long, mostly loving look from analysts.
- Following buys of Nextel Mexico and Iusacell, the company's taken on a rivalry with América Móvil in Mexico's wireless industry. And a sealed deal for DirecTV would give the company 12.6M video subscribers in Latin America, which could mean an even greater competitive interface with AMX.
- "While AT&T recently raised its guidance for synergies from the DTV deal, we see further potential for upside," said Credit Suisse's Joseph Mastrogiovanni after meeting with management. "Mexico is an attractive opportunity for AT&T, given regulatory pressure on the incumbent operator (América Móvil), the current three-player dynamic, AT&T's spectrum position and the economic outlook for the country."
- Macquarie's Kevin Smithen met with the carrier's Mexico CEO Thaddeus Arroyo: "We came away feeling more positive about the long-term opportunity for AT&T in the market and believe that AT&T can get to $1B in 2018 EBITDA ... When all is said and done, AT&T should be able to pull $500M to $700M per year in unlevered free cash flow out of the market in three to four years."
- Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler elaborated on his plans for fining AT&T $100M: The fine isn't final and depends on AT&T's response, but consumer refunds could evolve too.
Wed, Jun. 17, 12:11 PM
- The FCC plans to fine AT&T (NYSE:T) $100M, charging it with misleading its customers about unlimited mobile data.
- The agency says AT&T didn't adequately inform customers that it would slow down data for customers on unlimited plans, which the company says it did to keep the service running smoothly. The company responded that it had adequately informed customers of the move and that it would "vigorously dispute" the fine.
- Previously: AT&T paying $25M to settle FCC data-breach probe (Apr. 08 2015)
- Previously: AT&T paying $105M to settle unauthorized charge allegations (Oct. 08 2014)
Mon, Jun. 15, 1:55 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) has launched its "GigaPower" gigabit-Internet offering in Charlotte, N.C., its 12th market and another one that is targeted by Google for a Fiber expansion.
- The company is pitching a standalone service at its $70/month price (for those submitting to the company's targeted Web ads). It's a Google Fiber-pitched price, compared to $120/month in other markets, but has a data cap of 1 TB before hitting overage charges of $10/50 Gb with a $30/month max.
- Just more data points showing it's good for consumers to be in a competitive city; Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) is working its own "Maxx" digital upgrade in Charlotte, which will bring many of its subscribers there up to 200 Mbps or 300 Mpbs at no additional charge.
Fri, Jun. 12, 4:21 PM
- AT&T (T -0.7%) is pursuing a deal to rent wireless towers from Telesites, the tower-holding spinoff from América Móvil (AMX +0.3%), Bloomberg reports.
- An agreement could advance AT&T's expansion plans in Mexico, as Telesites' 11,000 towers make the country's most pervasive network.
- AT&T only provided a statement: “As we assess our options, we expect fair pricing, an expedited process, and efficient access similar to other tower companies.”
- The Telesites spinoff was prompted by tough new regulations in Mexico, and they dictate that the towers firm must allow access to any operator for a fee; and the IFT will step in and determine the rate if an agreement can't be reached.
- América Móvil had said the spinoff would give competitors access to 90% of its towers, up from 45%.
- Previously: America Movil floats spinoff of towers business into listed company (Apr. 01 2015)
Fri, Jun. 12, 12:06 PM
- While a federal court sided with the FCC yesterday -- and thus against AT&T (NYSE:T), in its litigation against net neutrality regulations -- is it really a silver lining for the big telecom?
- Analysts say with tough new rules taking effect today, the FCC has less reason to set tougher conditions on AT&T's proposed deal to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
- "Now that the net neutrality rules are set to go into effect today for all carriers, there probably isn't as much pressure for the FCC to attempt to single AT&T out or get AT&T to proactively agree to abide by stricter net neutrality rules," says Elevation's Stephen Sweeney, "so this may simplify the ongoing remedy/concessions negotiations that are ongoing with the regulators at the moment."
- Earlier this month, sources pointed to an AT&T ready to make concessions, including agreement to strict guidelines on net neutrality, in order to get the deal done.
- "The ruling (may be) a positive for AT&T-DirecTV because the FCC probably will face less pressure from public interest groups to apply the full net neutrality rules to AT&T as a merger condition (which might have been the case if the court had blocked the FCC's Title II ruling)," says Guggenheim's Paul Gallant.
- Previously: AT&T, Cogent enter new interconnection pact (Jun. 10 2015)
- Previously: Report: AT&T to agree to concessions for DirecTV deal (Jun. 02 2015)
- Previously: AT&T/DirecTV deal review still paused at FCC (May. 28 2015)
Wed, Jun. 10, 5:39 PM
- Virasb Vahidi, who joined Chernin Group/AT&T (NYSE:T) joint venture Otter Media as its CEO in September, is leaving the post with no immediate replacement.
- In a staff memo he said "It has become clear to [Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin] and me that the role of the CEO is different than we had originally envisioned.”
- Vahidi is a former executive at AT&T, which has put $500M into the streaming-video venture it formed with News Corp. ex Peter Chernin in April 2014.
- Otter Media has a majority stake in Fullscreen (YouTube network still run by founder George Strompolos), and stakes in subscription-video service Crunchyroll and craft-oriented Creativebug.
Wed, Jun. 10, 9:52 AM
- AT&T (T +0.6%) and Cogent Communications (CCOI +0.8%) have issued a statement saying they've made a new long-term interconnection deal governing their IP networks.
- The deal is said not only to increase efficiency but also add capacity and new interconnect locations between the two.
- Were the worries about the FCC's new regulations much ado about not much? The deal follows a number of agreements over the past couple of months, including Comcast/Level 3, AT&T/Level 3, and Verizon/Cogent -- suggesting that the conflicts may be giving way to friendlier dealmaking.
Mon, Jun. 8, 5:19 PM
- In the latest (but not the last) contract dispute over TV programming, AT&T (NYSE:T) has a contract expiration coming June 30 for CBS and its cable channels, including Showtime -- and CBS seems to be expecting its channels to go dark on the U-verse service.
- CBS is showing frustration with AT&T's slow progress, The Wall Street Journal reports, and is concerned that it's a precursor to a U-verse shutdown by AT&T, which is hoping to close its acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) also by the end of June.
- If CBS stations go dark, 2.5M subscribers (many more in Showtime's case) would lose the programming, primarily in Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago.
- AT&T has suggested that it had no plans to shut down U-verse just because of acquiring DirecTV, but if the merger closes before the U-verse contract is renewed, the DirecTV team might take over negotiations -- and that with the advantage of seeing a one-time rival's contract with the broadcaster.
Mon, Jun. 8, 12:32 PM
- Vodafone (VOD +0.6%) has gained as much as 12.5% after John Malone's May 19 comment about how the company would be a "great fit" with his Liberty Global, but some sober thought about regulatory risk for any deal has meant it coming a bit closer to earth, down 5.6% from the 52-week high.
- Vodafone clarified that the companies were talking about an asset swap and talk now turns to whether Vodafone's board might consider a breakup of the firm in order to ease a deal -- in which case AT&T (NYSE:T) could re-emerge as a buyer, using cash flow from an acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
- Vodafone is already considering an IPO of its India business, and the other emerging market operations may need to be split off as well. But CEO Vittorio Colao has been opposed to splitting the firm.
- Oppenheimer speculated earlier this year that AT&T could acquire Vodafone and move its HQ out of the U.S. for tax savings, though the Obama administration planned to fight such strategies.
- Meanwhile, Bank of America has upgraded Vodafone to Neutral from its previous Underperform, and raised its price target to $38 from $35. Shares are trading today at $37.27.
- Previously: Vodafone -2.2% after dampening Liberty merger talk (Jun. 05 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone up as Goldman says it may be an asset seller (May. 22 2015)
Tue, Jun. 2, 6:46 PM
- Mogul John Malone floated an interesting idea today: Forget Sprint and T-Mobile -- the wireless industry could get its third major alternative to Verizon and AT&T (NYSE:T) with the merger of Charter Communications (CHTR -1.6%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.9%).
- Malone was speaking at his various Liberty companies' annual meetings and noted that in 2012, the cable consortium SpectrumCo got an option to participate in a wireless MVNO service with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) after the wireless firm bought $3.9B in frequencies.
- Charter wasn't in SpectrumCo then, but merger partners TWC and Bright House are. “The concept that Comcast, a greatly enlarged Charter and Cox could together offer a WiFi-optimized connectivity service with a default to a Verizon MVNO is an interesting concept," Malone said.
- He thinks "there's very little dirty underwear" left to be found in a regulatory review of Charter-TWC after the past year's scrutiny.
- Also of interest regarding Charter capex and the dividend: “Everybody's going to say, ‘Oh he’s spending too much capital,’ but I think the end result with be worth it ... To a large degree we’re betting on Tom Rutledge and his team to wake up a sleepy cable company that was treading water in all honesty for a while and trying to satisfy shareholder pressures with buybacks and dividends as opposed to putting the money into having a competitive service offering.”
- Malone company shares today: LMCA -0.1%; LMCB flat; LMCK flat; LTRPA -0.9%; LTRPB +2.2%; QVCA +0.8%; LBRDA +0.1%; OTCQB:LBRDB flat; LBRDK -0.1%.
Tue, Jun. 2, 12:13 PM
- With a federal review now in its endgame, AT&T (T +0.4%) is ready to make concessions in order to seal its $49B deal for DirecTV (DTV +0.2%), The Washington Post reports.
- Speculation has centered on whether AT&T would embrace the FCC's new net neutrality rules regardless of the outcome of its pending litigation -- and the company appears ready to do so in several areas to get the deal done.
- Along with offering stand-alone broadband plans that might encourage cord-cutting, AT&T would honor a ban on blocking and throttling (slowing down) sites, as well as agree to refrain from "paid prioritization" -- where companies pay Internet providers to get into a "fast lane."
- Several details are unclear, though, including how long AT&T would need to abide by the commitments (earlier reports suggested several years), or what its broadband-only plans would have to look like in speed and price (opponents want 25 MBps for $30/month; AT&T's countered with 6 MBps for $35/month).
- Also still a thorny issue: interconnection fees that have seen content firms wrestling with carriers over who's paying for heavy traffic from the likes of Netflix.
- Previously: AT&T/DirecTV deal review still paused at FCC (May. 28 2015)
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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.
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