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AT&T’s Equipment Writedown Hurts Annual Profit Outlook, Shares Fall



AT&T's Equipment Writedown Hurts Annual Profit Outlook, Shares Fall

(CTN News) – The US carrier AT&T forecast annual profit below market estimates on Wednesday, as it lowers the value of its old equipment and contends with increased competition from cable operators.

The writedown of Nokia equipment will reduce annual earnings per share by nearly 17 cents, as AT&T transitions to new lower-cost ORAN technology, or open radio access network.

Ericsson was selected by the company in December to build an ORAN-based network that is expected to cover 70% of its wireless traffic in the United States by late 2026 at a cost of up to $14 billion.

The company said that it expected adjusted profit to be between $2.15 and $2.25 per share in 2024, which was less than LSEG’s estimate of $2.46 per share.

Additionally, Verizon’s forecast on Tuesday was market-beating, while its profit expectations were lower than last year’s $2.57.

Analysts believe that the race with cable operators could also hurt the carriers’ growth, since companies such as Charter Communications are looking to capture market share through a competitive network and pricing strategy.

AT&T’s subscriber base grew in the fourth quarter despite the pressure. According to Visible Alpha, it added 526,000 net monthly bill-paying wireless phone subscribers, a higher number than expected.

The company’s average revenue per user rose 1.4% during the period due to recent price hikes and a shift by consumers to higher-priced plans.

According to LSEG data, total revenue rose 2.2% to $32 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $31.48 billion. The company’s adjusted profit of 54 cents, however, fell short of Wall Street’s expectations of 56 cents. According to AT&T, the company anticipates returning to profit growth in 2025.


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