It was a year of empire building and then consolidation at what’s left of the old Ma Bell. CEO Randall Stephenson finally got regulators to sign off on his $104 billion acquisition (including debt) of Time Warner in June, despite President Trump’s objections. The deal—adding a movie studio plus the cable programming empire that includes CNN and HBO—helped boost AT&T’s revenue by 6% to $171 billion for the year. But continued customer losses from Stephenson’s last acquisition, DirecTV, and the heavy debt load hurt the bottom line and net income declined 34% to $19 billion. The company’s stock price dropped 27% for the year. Now the challenge is stemming the loss of satellite cord cutters while meshing the clashing cultures in the media and telecommunications sides of the business. Perhaps AT&T’s new super-fast 5G wireless network will come to the rescue. A slow rollout in parts of 12 cities at the end of 2018 should accelerate in 2019 and reach nationwide coverage within a few years.
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News about AT&T
The company spent $1.7 billion on video and music content during the first quarter of 2019.
The carrier is also taking preorders for the first true 5G phone.
Consumers are looking to save money and avoid ads.
Investors were already concerned about the launch of new competing services from Disney, AT&T, and Comcast.