Recently AT&T released its first-quarter earnings report in which it notched more cellphone users, more fiber-optic customers, and more HBO subscribers. The company lauded its “stability” compacted to competitors. Drew FitzGerald reports for The Wall Street Journal:
The Dallas company reported 44.2 million domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers, up from 41.5 million three months earlier, as its media division sought to gain on rivals like Netflix Inc. NFLX -1.10% and Walt Disney Co. That figure included viewers who signed up for the company’s new online streaming video service as well as those with older subscriptions to HBO through a cable-TV provider.
In the U.S. wireless business, AT&T’s core profit engine, the company added 595,000 postpaid phone subscribers, a highly valued category of customers who are billed for monthly service after-the-fact. The carrier also posted a net gain of 207,000 prepaid phone subscribers.
Rival Verizon Communications Inc. on Wednesday reported a net loss of 178,000 postpaid phone connections over the same period. T-Mobile is slated to report its first-quarter results next month.
AT&T executives said the telecom business kept expenses in check by serving more customers online and by giving its sales force simpler plans to promote, saving them time. The company also suggested it would continue offering discounts to attract and keep customers. That strategy could force competitors to respond in kind if it is sustained.
“I think we still have room to run,” Chief Executive John Stankey said during a conference call with analysts. “We have seen our competitors continue to try to compete aggressively. They’re mixing and changing their offers pretty frequently. We seem to be very consistent and very stable, and that’s a really good place for us to be.”
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