AT&T Earnings Miss The Mark Despite Revenue Growth

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Key Takeaways

  • AT&T's fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 54 cents a share missed analyst expectations.
  • The wireless carrier saw revenue increase 2.2% from a year ago to a better-than-expected $32 billion.
  • Total wireless net additions of 5.9 million were greater than analyst consensus of 5.4 million.

AT&T (T) shares dropped 2.8% in early trading Wednesday after reporting fourth quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations, despite a revenue beat.

The wireless carrier's adjusted earnings of 54 cents per diluted share came in lower than the 56 cents per diluted share analyst consensus compiled by Visible Alpha and contracted compared to 61 cents a share it reported in the year-ago quarter. The company projected 2024 adjusted EPS in the range of $2.15-$2.25 on account of higher depreciation expense, among other factors.

AT&T's quarterly revenue grew 2.2% from a year earlier to a better-than-expected $32 billion.

The company's free cash flow—funds remaining after covering operating expenses for the company to use—was $6.4 billion, up from $6.1 billion for the same period in 2022.

“We accomplished exactly what we said we would in 2023, delivering sustainable growth and consistent business performance, resulting in full-year free cash flow of $16.8 billion, ahead of our raised guidance,” said John Stankey, AT&T CEO.
  Q4 2023 Analysts' Estimates for Q4 2023 Q4 2022  Year-over-year comparison
Revenue $32 B  $31.4 B  $31.3 B  2.2%
Adjusted Earnings per Share (EPS) 54 cents 56 cents 61 cents  -11.5%

Key Metric

Net wireless subscriber additions is a key metric to watch for AT&T. For the quarter, the company reported 5.9 million net adds, greater than the 5.4 million that analysts had expected. Postpaid wireless net additions came in at 526,000 for the quarter, up from the prior quarter but lower than a year ago.

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