AT&T Notches U-Verse Gains in Q1

Record Additions of 731,000 U-verse Internet Subs Offset Regular DSL Losses

AT&T’s U-verse platform was a beacon of growth in the first quarter as the telco raked in a record 731,000 U-verse Internet subscribers and 232,000 TV customers in the period.

AT&T ended the quarter with 8.4 million U-verse Internet and 4.8 million U-verse TV subs. The telco said U-verse TV adds in the period marked its best net gain in nine quarters.

Record quarterly U-verse Internet adds offset regular DSL losses, resulting in 124,000 net wireline broadband subscribers, the best quarterly increase for AT&T in that category in eight quarters.  Total U-verse high-speed customers now make up more than half of all AT&T’s wireline broadband customer base.

AT&T expects capital expenditures for 2013 to be in the neighborhood of $21 billion. It also anticipates capex to hit $20 billion in both 2014 and 2015, down from an originally anticipated $22 billion for each of those years. The lower capex projection comes “with no reduction in the Project Velocity IP (VIP) broadband expansion," AT&T said.

Outlined last November, the three-year capex investment plan calls for AT&T to expand its U-verse network by more than one-third, or 8.5 million additional customer locations, for a total potential of 33 million homes, by the end of 2015.  The cash will also fund capacity expansions that will put U-verse on pace to support downstream speeds of up to 75 Mbps.  AT&T will also use those funds to help it deploy its Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network to nearly 90 percent of its planned 300 million POPs by the end of 2013.  

Despite a 3.4 percent boost in wireless revenues, the overall financial picture was not as picture perfect. AT&T posted first quarter earnings of 64 cents per share, versus 60 cents a year-ago, while first quarter revenues slipped 1.4 percent,  to $31.36 billion. Analysts were expecting 64 cents a share on revenues of $31.75 billion, according to  Reuters.

AT&T shares dipped 72 cents (1.85%) to $38.28 each in after-hours trading early Tuesday evening.