AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) released its earnings numbers for the three months through June this afternoon after the market heard the ring of the bell on Wall Street. The company revealed earnings per share of $0.62 for its second quarter of fiscal 2014. Revenue for the period came in at $32.6billion. On today’s market trading of the company’s stock was mostly flat, and the shares finished at $35.88.
In the second quarter of last year AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) managed to earn 67 cents per share on revenue totaling $32.3 billion. Before today’s announcement analysts were, by consensus, looking for the company to show earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue totaling $33.3 billion. The consensus numbers were taken from a Bloomberg survey of 26 analysts following the company.
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AT&T lags as market changes
AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) and its major competitor Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) were both caught off guard recently by upstart T-Mobile, which ran a successful ad campaign that may have changed the wireless market forever. T-Mobile changed its business model by offering a different kind of smartphone plan, which uncoupled smartphone subsidies from customer bills.
The plan, which was a keystone of the “Uncarrier” marketing campaign, allowed users to upgrade more frequently and was a boon to the margins of the company. Both AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) followed suit with their own versions of the idea, but investors have fallen in line behind T-Mobile and its disruptive effect on the carrier market in the United States.
In the last twelve months shares in AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) have gained the slimmest of fractions. Those in T-Mobile have managed to explode in value, increasing by around 30%. With expectations riding on T-Mobile, and the smartphone market getting close to a saturated level, it seems that the market is assuming the smaller carrier will steal subscribers away from T-Mobile.
AT&T looks to the future
The major wireless carriers in the United States are attempting to completely change the way they operate. They don’t, in the new paradigm, need to actually own the cell phone towers they operate on, they just need to own the spectrum their wireless signals travel on. The company’s margins are supposed to increase on the back of that development as well as the change in the way cell carriers handle the subsidies they pay to smartphone companies.
Those aren’t the only changes that are likely to shake the company in the second half of 2014, however. A proposed merger between the firm and DirecTV was announced earlier on in 2014, and would make the company a one-of-a-kind data powerhouse. Whether or not that deal is going to manage to pass the oversight of regulators is anyone’s guess, but the results of such a merger, should it be agreed to, would shake the market’s foundation.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) may be at one of the most dramatic turning points in its history, and the company’s future is likely to turn on events that happen in the second half of the year. What that means for shareholders, particularly after the underperformance of the last year, is impossible to predict.