AT&T Inc. reported solid second-quarter results highlighted by double-digit earnings growth, an increase in consolidated revenues and improved margins. These results were driven by continued growth in mobile broadband, including a record quarter for iPhone activations, gains in IP-based and strategic business services and disciplined execution on cost initiatives.
"We delivered another strong quarter, with improved revenue trends, double-digit earnings growth and solid cash flow. These results add to our confidence going into the second half of the year,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer.
“We continue to see positive signs of growth in almost every customer segment of our business, especially wireless, which speaks to the quality of our execution and our leadership in the industry’s most powerful growth driver — mobile broadband. I am excited by the opportunities ahead.”
Second-Quarter Financial Results
(During the second quarter, AT&T announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with IBM to sell Sterling Commerce for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. AT&T expects the sale to close in the second half of 2010. Second-quarter comparisons are based on results from continuing operations, which exclude results from Sterling Commerce in all periods.)
For the quarter ended June 30, 2010, AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $30.8 billion, up $194 million, or 0.6 percent, versus the year-earlier quarter, marking the company's second consecutive quarter with a year-over-year revenue increase. Versus the first quarter of this year, consolidated revenues were up $278 million, or 0.9 percent.
Compared with results for the second quarter of 2009, operating expenses were $24.7 billion versus $25.1 billion; operating income was $6.1 billion, up from $5.5 billion; and AT&T's operating income margin expanded to 19.8 percent, up from 18.0 percent. Total employee force is down by more than 10,000 since year-end 2009.
Second-quarter 2010 net income attributable to AT&T totaled $4.0 billion, or $0.68 per diluted share, up 25.9 percent, including a $0.07 one-time gain from the exchange of Telmex Internacional stock for shares of América Móvil. Excluding the gain from the Telmex Internacional transaction, earnings grew 13.0 percent to $0.61 per diluted share. These results compare with net income attributable to AT&T of $3.2 billion, or $0.54 per diluted share, in the year-earlier second quarter.
Second-quarter 2010 cash from operating activities totaled $8.6 billion; capital expenditures totaled $4.9 billion, including a nearly 60-percent increase in wireless-related capital investment versus the year-earlier quarter, as AT&T aggressively deploys next-generation wireless broadband networks. Free cash flow — cash from operating activities minus capital expenditures — totaled $3.7 billion.
Compared with results for the first half of 2009, year to date through the second quarter, cash from operating activities totaled $15.8 billion versus $15.8 billion; capital expenditures totaled $8.2 billion versus $7.4 billion; and free cash flow totaled $7.6 billion versus $8.4 billion.
Due to improved revenue trends and strong execution, AT&T has updated its earnings outlook for full-year 2010. Previously the company expected stable-to-improved earnings per share, stable-to-improved consolidated operating income margins and free cash flow in line with 2008 results. The company now expects strong earnings per share growth for full-year 2010, improved consolidated operating income margins and free cash flow above 2008 levels.
Wireless Operational Highlights
AT&T delivered strong second-quarter growth in its wireless business, led by its premier data network, industry leadership in mobile broadband and a compelling array of devices and applications. Highlights included:
Strong Second-Quarter Subscriber Gain. AT&T posted an organic net gain in total wireless subscribers of 1.6 million, to reach 90.1 million in service. Second-quarter net add growth reflects rapid adoption of smartphones, increases in prepaid subscribers and growth in a host of connected devices such as eReaders, global positioning systems and alarm monitoring systems. Connected devices net adds were 896,000 in the quarter to reach 6.7 million, and retail postpaid net adds totaled 496,000 to reach 67.0 million.
Best-ever Subscriber Churn Levels. For the sixth consecutive quarter, AT&T had year-over-year improvement in both total and postpaid wireless churn. Postpaid churn was 1.01 percent, down from 1.07 percent in the year-earlier quarter, and total churn was 1.29 percent versus 1.48 percent in the second quarter of 2009 — both record lows for the company.
Robust Wireless Data Revenue Growth. Wireless data revenues — from messaging, Internet access, access to applications and related services — increased $936 million, or 27.2 percent, from the year-earlier quarter to $4.4 billion. AT&T wireless subscribers on data plans increased more than 24 percent over the past year. Versus the year-earlier quarter, total text messages carried on the AT&T network increased 41.7 percent to 154 billion and multimedia messages more than doubled to 2.6 billion.
Continued Postpaid ARPU Growth. Driven by strong data growth, postpaid subscriber ARPU increased 3.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $62.63, despite including 1.6 million subscribers from the acquisition of properties from Verizon Wireless. This marked the sixth consecutive quarter AT&T has posted a year-over-year increase in postpaid ARPU. Postpaid data ARPU reached $21.07, up 18.6 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, and total postpaid subscriber revenues continued recent trends, with solid double-digit growth, reflecting increases in both voice and data.
Strong Integrated Device Growth. Key drivers of wireless data growth are increased penetration of integrated devices (handsets with QWERTY or virtual keyboards in addition to voice functionality) and greater usage of AT&T’s mobile broadband network, the nation’s fastest. The number of 3G postpaid integrated devices on AT&T's wireless network increased by 2.9 million to 29.7 million, an increase of 98.2 percent year over year and 10.8 percent sequentially. At the end of the quarter, 53.2 percent of AT&T's 67.0 million postpaid subscribers had integrated devices, up from 36.3 percent one year earlier. The average ARPU for integrated devices on AT&T's network is 1.7 times that of the company's nonintegrated-device base. More than 80 percent of integrated device subscribers are on FamilyTalk and/or business discount plans. Churn levels for these plans continue to run below the company's total and postpaid base.
3.2 Million iPhone Activations. On June 24, AT&T began offering iPhone 4, the most powerful iPhone yet. Preorder sales of iPhone 4 were 10 times higher than the first day of preordering for iPhone 3GS a year earlier. For the full second quarter, AT&T iPhone activations totaled 3.2 million, the most quarterly iPhone activations ever. Approximately 27 percent of those activations were for customers who were new to AT&T.
Wireless Margin Expansion. Even with the volumes associated with the June launch of iPhone 4, in the second quarter, AT&T delivered substantial year-over-year wireless margin expansion, driven by continued solid revenue growth, reduced churn, improved operating efficiencies and further growth in the company's base of high-quality subscribers. AT&T’s wireless operating income margin was 28.8 percent versus 24.9 percent in the year-earlier quarter, and AT&T’s wireless OIBDA service margin was 43.1 percent, up from 40.1 percent in the second quarter of 2009 (OIBDA service margin is operating income before depreciation and amortization, divided by total service revenues). Wireless service revenues increased 10.3 percent to $13.2 billion in the second quarter, and total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 7.7 percent to $14.2 billion. Second-quarter wireless operating expenses totaled $10.1 billion, up 2.1 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, and wireless operating income was $4.1 billion, up 24.7 percent year over year.