AT&T is adding customers, or at least adding new lines of service, and growing in the face of intense competition from T-Mobile and Sprint. Most of those net adds came from tablets and “connected devices” like cars, but adding almost two million new subscriptions is nothing to shake a stick at. Of those new adds, 854,000 were postpaid customers and 969,000 were new tablets added to data plans on customers’ accounts. The company also grew by a cool 1 million new smartphones, from customers upgrading and from activation of new lines. They also added over 800,000 connected cars, which is pretty crazy considering that turning your car into a mobile hotspot isn’t even an option for most of us at this point in time.
AT&T added a boatload of new lines and new customers, but they ended up losing money on the year overall. The company had a few charge-offs and lost $4 billion on revenues of $34.4 billion. They were on pace to turn a profit of $0.55 per share. That would have been analysts projection, but alas. In other good news for the company, AT&T now has almost 70 percent of their customer base on their newer shared data plans, and about half of those customers are sharing plans of 10GB or higher. The name of the game is data these days, and AT&T customers continue to use a ton of it.
It’s encouraging that AT&T is slowly but surely moving away from cell phone subsidies, too. 58 percent of their customers are now on a plan that doesn’t include a device subsidy, something that T-Mobile has been implementing for years, so it’s nice to see AT&T following suit to some degree. The Next program seems to have caught on with customers. A landscape where we don’t have cell phone subsidies is a good one for customers and for wireless carriers all around. AT&T also reported on their wireline business, adding 405,000 U-verse internet subscribers and 73,000 U-verse TV subscribers. All in all it was a pretty strong year for AT&T, especially on the wireless side. “The groundwork has now been laid for 2015 and beyond,” CEO Randall Stephenson said in the conference call today.