AT&T tops profit expectations as subscriber growth continues


Shares of AT&T Inc. were up 2% in premarket trading Thursday after the telecommunications company topped profit expectations for its latest quarter.

The company posted third-quarter income from continuing operations of $6.3 billion, or 79 cents a share, compared with $5.0 billion, or 63 cents a share, in the year-prior quarter.

After adjustments for actuarial gains on benefit plans and some other factors, AT&T T, -0.38% notched 68 cents a share in earnings from continuing operations, up from 66 cents a share a year earlier, and alone above the 62 cents a share in earnings from continuing operations for standalone AT&T during that year-ago period. The standalone number accounts for the fact that the company divested its U.S. video business last summer.

Analysts tracked by FactSet were modeling 61 cents a share in adjusted earnings for AT&T’s third quarter.

Revenue came in at $30.0 billion, down from $31.3 billion a year before, though up from $29.1 billion in revenue for standalone AT&T. The FactSet consensus was for $29.8 billion in revenue.

AT&T attributed the drop in headline revenue during the latest quarter to the divestment of its U.S. video business last July as well as lower business wireline revenue. Those trends were partially offset by higher mobility revenue.

The company saw 708,000 postpaid phone net additions during the period, while postpaid phone churn was 0.84%.

AT&T expects growth in mobility service revenues at the “upper end” of the 4.5% to 5% range for the full year. It gave a target of 4.5% to 5% growth in its second-quarter report. The company also models adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of “$2.50 or higher” for the full year, while analysts tracked by FactSet were looking for $2.53.

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