AT&T shares fell Thursday after the company said its cash flow was hurt by customers’ later phone payments and company spending on building 5G infrastructure.
AT&T said customers have been paying their bills about two days later than they did the same time last year. That alone affected about $1 billion in quarterly cash flow, the company said.
“There’s clearly some dynamics in the economy. We have customers that are stretching out their payments a little bit,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey in an interview. “We expect that they’re going to continue to pay their bills, but they’re taking longer to do it. That’s not atypical in an economic cycle.”
Given its costs, including investments in subscriber growth, AT&T lowered its full-year free cash flow guidance from the $16 billion range to the $14 billion range.
Shares closed down almost 8% at $18.92.
For its second quarter, AT&T reported revenue of $29.64 billion, down from $35.7 billion in the year-earlier period. Excluding the impact of divestitures, operating revenue was up about 2%.
Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $29.55 billion, according to Refinitiv.
The company said its adjusted earnings were 65 cents per share, which was above the 61 cents analysts had expected.