AT&T CEO John Stankey says the company is entering a new era and is ready to attract more customers. The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery will still be focused on the people-connecting business.
AT&T IS BETTING ITS FUTURE on smart screens and high-performance telecom. The coveted 5G market that is taking by assault both industries and households in the U.S. is becoming the new battleground for telecommunications companies which are planning today how to secure a safe business tomorrow.
In AT&T’s case, this represents a double opportunity. First because the company is taking advantage of the current strongest position in the mobile market, then there is the recent merger that resulted into Warner Bros Discovery. The Dallas, Texas based company has the goal to become the best broadband provider in the U.S. and their advantage is owning and operating both fiber and wireless, providing better flexibility to deliver high-quality broadband in more places.
The largest provider of mobile telephone services in the U.S. is making plans, and most of them are related to 5G.
5G, AND A NEW ERA
For AT&T’s CEO John Stankey the company continues to progress on its journey to become the best broadband provider in the U.S.
“AT&T has entered a new era, meeting this opportunistic moment from a position of flexibility and strength thanks to our evolving networks, enhanced customer experience, growing 5G and fiber customer base and a much stronger balance sheet,” John says.
According to him the company is at the dawn of a new age of connectivity and well positioned to take advantage of the market opportunity. “With our assets, skills and valuable customer base, we are ready to deliver as new business models requiring pervasive, high-performance connectivity continue to emerge,” John notes.
AT&T will ramp investment to deploy fiber and 5G. For both 2022 and 2023 the expected capital investment is in the $24 billion range, and then begins to taper to the $20 billion range starting in 2024. Capital investment for the next two years include $5 billion to deploy 5G spectrum.
AT&T’s strategy for the next couple of years takes into account doubling its fiber footprint to 30-plus million locations, including increasing the business customer locations by 2x to 5 million. In doing so, the company expects to add 3.5 million to 4 million customer locations each year.
To enhance its 5G network, 120 MHz of mid-band spectrum is being deployed to cover more than 200 million people by the end of 2023.
According to the company, enabling faster speeds, increased capacity and with lower latency, this mid-band spectrum complements the existing 5G footprint, which covers more than 255 million users in more than 16,000 locations across the U.S.
WARNER BROS DISCOVERY IS FORMED
After a lasting legal battle AT&T finally completed its acquisition of Time Warner in 2018. The telecom behemoth turned around the company renaming it WarnerMedia, and refocused it on streaming through the platform that later would become HBO Max.
In May 2021, AT&T announced the merger of WarnerMedia with Discovery, a deal worth $43 billion that paved the way for one of Hollywood’s biggest studios to compete with Netflix and Disney.
Less than a year after that, the operation was completed and Warner Bros Discovery was introduced to the market.
“The WarnerMedia deal is the starting line of a new era for AT&T,” says John. “The transformation experienced in the past months, before the merger, has brought the company to this point. We will retain our focus on growing customer relationships, continuously improve our execution to enhance the customer experience and deliver growth and returns for our shareholders.”
AT&T consolidated revenues for the first quarter totaled $38.1 billion, compared to $43.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. These decreases were partially offset by higher mobility revenues.
“Our momentum in growing customer relationships is reaching historical levels,” says John. “We had our best first quarter for postpaid phone net adds in more than a decade and our fiber broadband net adds remain consistently strong.”
As of 2022, AT&T was ranked 13th on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest U.S corporations, with revenues of $168 billion.
SETTING THE RIGHT PATH
After spending his entire 37-year career at the company John Stankey was appointed AT&T CEO in 2020, following through on a succession plan outlined the year before. For John it’s been a challenging and sometimes emotional process. Being on the steering wheel of a company that has a transgenerational reputation both as a communication provider and as a reliable dividend payer to investors, was a top challenge.
After the WarnerMedia deal was official and a number of top executive changes were announced in all firms involved, John bid farewell to the company in a candid memo to staffers last April.
“Getting to this moment was one of the more difficult decisions of my life. I am sure you aren’t surprised that it came with a fair amount of anxiety, disappointment, and concern relative to the changes it would trigger,” John wrote. “All considered, I remain confident we have set the right path”.
For John, AT&T’s achievements are “a work in progress”, but accomplishments have been outstanding.
The newly formed company that now has the strength of AT&T is ready to move into a future where streaming and entertainment will live along connectivity and mobility.
Warner Bros Discovery appointed CEO David Zaslav is ready to move forward and he knows that the connecting-people business is crucial.