AT&T loses TV subscribers; profit beats expectations

Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:27pm EDT
 
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By Malathi Nayak and Kshitiz Goliya

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote) said on Tuesday the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier lost television subscribers and signed up fewer-than-expected monthly wireless customers in the first quarter, even as it beat profit estimates.

Shares of AT&T, which had gained 10.7 percent so far this year, fell almost 2 percent in extended trading.

AT&T has been seeking new revenue sources in an oversaturated wireless market, and has acquired satellite-TV provider DirecTV to offer bundles of cellular, broadband, TV and fixed-line phone services. AT&T is in the early stages of implementing this plan after completing the $48.5 billion merger in July, which created the country's largest pay-TV company.

"(AT&T's) strategy is to bundle wireless services with entertainment and broadband and so far that has shown mixed results," MoffettNathanson LLC analyst Craig Moffett said in a phone interview.

AT&T said it added 328,000 DirecTV subscribers in the quarter ended March 31. But it lost 382,000 U-verse TV customers as the company started to phase out that service.

AT&T, which is battling wireless providers like Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote) and T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O: Quote) for subscribers, added 129,000 postpaid customers in the quarter.

Postpaid customers, who pay bills monthly, tend to spend more than prepaid customers.

The increase fell short of analysts' average estimate of 287,000 postpaid net additions, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.   Continued...

 
A woman looks at her mobile next to AT&T logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo