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April 28, 2022
Telco and cable company earnings continue to present a mixed bag of wireless growth and wireline decline.
AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon have unveiled their first quarter earnings in the last two weeks. All four companies reported gains in wireless that in most cases helped them prevail over slumping wireline numbers.
AT&T last week reported business wireless revenue growth of 8.4%. Verizon Business grew its wireless service revenues 2.1%, to $3.1 billion. Comcast grew its wireless revenue by 32%, to $677 million in the first quarter.
Many of the carriers explained how they are seeing big opportunities around fixed wireless. T-Mobile last week celebrated its 1 millionth home internet customer, with its business unit getting in on the action.
T-Mobile’s Mike Katz
“Because we’re deployed nationally with fixed wireless, really the customers are coming from everywhere,” T-Mobile chief marketing officer Mike Katz told investors. “You’re seeing customers in top 100 [cities] where we are now providing a competitive choice to cable.”
Other providers also reported fixed wireless growth in their earnings.
Verizon Business reported 82,000 fixed wireless net additions in the first quarter. Those connections made for a large portion of the 229,000 net broadband customer additions that Verizon’s business and consumer groups collectively drove.
Verizon’s Hans Vestberg
“And this is not a one-off,” CEO Hans Vestberg said. “You can see from the current broadband trends that the demand for fixed wireless is extremely high and growing.”
TBI solution engineer Justin Foxwood earlier this month shared with Channel Futures his insights on why fixed wireless is growing. Foxwood said fixed wireless has re-emerged in the channel after channel partners commonly sold it more than a decade ago. Foxwood said 5G helped fill in line-of-sight problems that fixed wireless connections previously faced.
TBI’s Justin Foxwood
“You now have multiple avenues to pull and send data to,” Foxwood told Channel Futures at the TBI Big Event. “It just so happened that 5G has come along and [boosted] this hipster technology.”
AT&T‘s business wireline revenues dropped 6.7% year-over-year, to $5.6 billion in the first quarter. However, the company also reported fiber revenue growth of nearly 25%
“The expansion of our fiber footprint is enabling our business portfolio to target significant opportunities in the small and medium business market, allowing us to capture a greater portion of the opportunities in core transport and connectivity,” CEO John Stankey said. “In addition, as we open up relationships with more customers, we’ll have incremental opportunities to continue our growth in business wireless.”
AT&T’s John Stankey
Verizon also reported declining legacy wireline revenues that offset wireless growth.
Comcast’s David Watson
Comcast grew its cable communications business services revenue 10.6% year-over-year, to $2.4 billion; that, paired with strong overall wireless growth. Meantime, Comcast executives continued to share their vision for converging wireline and mobile into the same package.
“When you take both, there’s just more value for the customer. And we think that this converged packaging approach, really putting the emphasis in terms of service value, is the key,” said David Watson, CEO of Comcast Cable.
Read Channel Futures’ fourth-quarter carrier earnings roundup, which featured AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter and their various wireline and wireless numbers.
Callie Field, president of T-Mobile’s business group, pointed to success the “uncarrier” has found in the financial sector. “We’re expanding the number of large multinational banks relying on T-Mobile for security, for compliance, for their hybrid workforce,” Field told investors.
T-Mobile executives also noted that they are tracking with their goal of migrating customers off the Sprint network by midyear and decommissioning the network by the end of the year.
Comcast’s business relationships increased by 9,000 in the first quarter. Video continued its downturn, with Comcast Business going 765,000 business video customers a year ago to 654,000.
Comcast chief financial officer Michael Cavanaugh said the company’s 10.6% business services revenue growth would be approximately 6%, not taking into account the company’s integration of Masergy.
Comcast on Wednesday announced a partnership with Charter Communications to launch a new streaming platform. Charter will provide $900 million over the upcoming years in contribution to the platform.
Verizon stated that SMB demand is driving post-pandemic business wireless growth.
Senior News Editor, Channel Futures
James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.
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