AT&T Inc. First Quarter Earnings: What To Expect

AT&T Inc. First Quarter Earnings: What To Expect
By AT&T [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is scheduled to post its first quarter 2014 earnings on April 22nd 2014, after the market close. On the same day, the company will hold a conference call to discuss the results further. The network provider has struggled to keep its market share of its postpaid segment over the last few years, lagging behind rivals Verizon and T-Mobile, where Verizon is penetrating deep in the LTE coverage market and T-Mobile is promoting its Uncarrier promotions.

However, the United States’ second largest network carrier is making efforts to gain considerably by expanding its LTE network to bring down the coverage gap with Verizon and retain its dominance over the smaller carriers.

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ARPU may decline for AT&T

Aggressive pricing by different companies of their products pioneered by T-Mobile’s Uncarrier move last year has persuaded AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) to offer promotions and discounts that could shrink the average revenue per user (ARPU) growth this year. The wireless market is on the verge of saturation and low prices will pressure the top-line growth. Additionally, the company plans to discontinue the subsidy and improve its profit margin.

Street is expecting earnings per share of $0.70 for the first quarter, an increase of $0.06 from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.  Sales are also anticipated to come in high, rising 3.4% year over year. Consensus revenue estimates for the first quarter are $32.42 billion over last year’s $31.36 billion.

Better EBITDA margin

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is expected to post better EBITDA margins compared to the previous quarter due to the seasonal nature of smartphone demand. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has readily adopted financing plans when compared to peers like Verizon and Sprint. However, the company came up with the decision only until end of the year. With subscribers buying new plans, the company will notice improvements in its margins over the next few months.

VIP plan of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is expected to strike year over year growth of 2-3%, but there may be some hurdles in achieving these numbers. Google Trends notes that the search volume intensity declined in the first quarter compared to the corresponding quarter of 2013. Although Google Trends reveals some disappointing numbers, analysts are upbeat and in the past 30 days, 14 analysts upgraded their outlook.

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