AT&T posted gains in overall consumer broadband revenue and subscribers in Q1 2022, as strong momentum from its fiber expansion helped offset losses from its legacy copper business.
The operator’s consumer wireline segment added 289,000 fiber subscribers during the quarter, allowing it to overcome the loss of 284,000 non-fiber broadband customers to come away with 5,000 total net additions. While that figure marked a steep drop off from the 74,000 broadband customers AT&T added in Q1 2021, it was a sequential turnaround from a loss of 1,000 broadband subscribers in Q4.
All told, AT&T ended the quarter with nearly 6.3 million fiber subscribers and almost 7.6 million non-fiber broadband customers.
During an earnings call, CEO John Stankey declined to provide a breakdown of how many of its fiber net additions were new to AT&T versus existing customers transitioning from copper. However, he noted it is seeing “healthy growth” in the former category and pointed out it would be impossible for the operator to hit its fiber penetration targets without taking customers from broadband rivals.
“We’re actually picking up, as I’ve described it, share points in a way that I’ve never seen a product move in my career,” he stated
Stankey noted the operator’s fiber footprint now covers 17 million locations. That figure was up 2.4 million year on year and 800,000 sequentially.
“In fiber, we continue our great build velocity,” Stankey said. “This expansion continues to allow our business to grow…our fast-growing fiber revenues now make up nearly half of our consumer wireline broadband revenues.”
Total consumer wireline revenue came in at nearly $3.2 billion, with broadband accounting for almost $2.4 billion of that. Fiber accounted for $1.1 billion of broadband revenue, while non-fiber sales came in at $1.2 billion.
AT&T notably faced supply chain challenges which slowed its fiber rollout in 2021. While supply chain pressures persist across the globe, Stankey said he was optimistic operators in the North American market would fare better than peers in other parts of the world.
“What you should keep in mind is that the North American market is an incredibly profitable market for providers of equipment on a global basis,” he explained. “So as a result of that, if you’re into a situation where there’s some degree of constraint, I think if you’re an equipment manufacturer you have the motivation to make sure that you supply your most profitable market first.”
Consolidated revenue of $38.1 billion fell 13.3% year on year, primarily due to the impact of AT&T’s divestitures of its U.S. video business and Vrio in the second half of 2021. Revenue for “standalone AT&T” excluding its newly spun off WarnerMedia business rose 2.5% to $29.7 billion. Net income attributable to common stock fell from $7.5 billion to $4.8 billion.
Business wireline revenue continued to slide, dipping to $5.6 billion compared to $6.0 billion in Q1 2021.