AT&T posts $17.9 billion in revenue, adds 625,000 postpaid customers in Q1

AT&T reported its first quarter 2014 results, showing impressive growth in revenues, handset sales and customer acquisition for the quarter. While AT&T operates businesses outside of its wireless division, we're going to focus on this portion. For the quarter, AT&T posted $17.9 billion in revenue including handset sales, up 7 percent year-over-year, leading to $5.1 billion in operating income, up 8.1 percent.

On the customer side, AT&T added 625,000 postpaid customers, its largest first quarter gain in five years. It also added 693,000 "connected devices," but saw prepaid customers dip overall in the quarter mostly due to the loss of over 200,000 reseller subscribers. Of those additions, 311,000 were for postpaid smartphones, while 313,000 were tablets.

AT&T sold 5.8 million smartphones in total for the quarter, making up 92 percent of all postpaid phone sales — which first quarter record. This leads to 78 percent of AT&T's postpaid customers now using smartphones, up from 74 percent this time last year. In terms of connectivity, 57 percent of AT&T's postpaid smartphone subscribers have an LTE-capable device.

One interesting note on the growth was that AT&T says 40 percent of the gross smartphone additions and upgrades came by way of its AT&T Next device installment plan, up from just 15 percent last quarter. Additionally, about 45 percent of all postpaid subscribers are now on a Mobile Share plan, with a full 81 percent now being on some form of usage-based billing (i.e. not unlimited) plan.

Source: AT&T


Reader comments

AT&T posts $17.9 billion in revenue, adds 625,000 postpaid customers in Q1


This is cause for celebration, maybe they will spread some of the profits back down to their customers.

I almost went to shared data (4 lines) but trying to figure out what the catch is. There's always a catch..

10GB for four lines (I have five lines) for $160 as long as one line is a Next line or a phone that is paid for (i.e. no contract). It's a great deal. My five lines after my corporate discount is $143/mo.

Cue MC Hammer...

I knew it! One line has be on a Next payment plan. So even though shared data is cheaper you still gotta pay 20-30 extra on one line.
And if I did go to shared data and pay off the Next phone would I get bumped back to the regular plan?

I didn't really think of it as a catch, but I guess if you don't already have a phone you plan to use, it may not be worth it.

The catch is that it costs $10 more per line if your plan is for anything fewer than 10GB. If you had 3 people on a plan, it would be the same price for 4GB as it would be for 10.

Exactly. Also when you have to have next for the next upgrade. I have 4 lines on mine. If everyone had next payments going, I'd be paying about 130 on top of the regular bill. You don't realize it now, but in the long run I prefer the 199 payment for 2 years.

Unless you're a stockholder. Any company you think you should do business with you should strongly look at owning too. Unless you're doing business with them because you're cheap.

None of these wireless companies can gloat. It's not as if we have real choices. In the US were limited to really the big 3. All whom nickel and dime us. T mobile may do it the least but they have the worst coverage.

Lol that is with godfather in rate. Plus the lowest minutes available. I can see it being chaotic if you need more then that hehe!!

$90 a month?!! I think my contract in the UK equates to $30 per month. That gives me 500 minutes/unlimited texts/1GB data & a 64GB Lumia 1020 (no upfront phone cost).

i think the plan he's talking about is one of the original ones with unlimited data, so though it's expensive, it's worth it for some people. i think you do have to pay extra for tethering as well though, whereas you don't have to with the new plans.

Your country is also about the size of new jersey. Imagine having native carrier coverage for all of Europe and most of northern Africa.

one of the biggest things that pisses me off is that att labels certain phones as "business" phones e.g. blackberry, and it apparently justifies charging twice as much for data for absolutely no reason.

Unlimited here means unlimited without throttling. 2.5gb "unlimited" plans are available from AIO for $45, and t-mobile for $60

"313,000 were tablets"

Only because these carriers charge for tethering and sharing my phone's data connection. Such bullshit. Wish the FCC would put a stop to this.

Does my home internet need a charge for every device? No. Neither should my wireless smartphones or tablets.

Anyways... I'm happy on T-Mobile :)

Yeah, they now let you tether for free hoping you exceed your data and have to give them more $$.

If you have a family plan, tethering is included. For some reason, they screw the individual subscriber. The rates seem way higher too for individual subscribers.

Agreed. I added my mother and brother. Paying only $50 or something more, and got free tethering. We never come close to using up.the 4GB data pool. Not a bad deal for at&t.

Its not widely known, but AT&T almost acquired T-Mobile.  AT&T gave T-Mobile millions on a gaurantee regardless if the deal went through or not.  So the deal failed, could have something to do with T-Mobile lobbying for its failure knowing they get the money anyway.

After the deal fails, T-Mobile launches a campaign markeeting blitz to buy AT&T customers off their contract.  Guess what..? With the money AT&T gave T-Mobile. 

If this is not back handed, sly, and unscroupulous, I don't know what is.  I am glad AT&T came out with some profits.

Think that's pretty widely known, actually, as one of the bigger mergers the FCC has ever put a stop to.

The money that AT&T paid T-Mobile was actually conditional on the deal failing, though — T-Mobile wouldn't have gotten any additional funds had the deal been approved. T-Mobile actively lobbied the government to let the merger go through at the time, actually, as it would've been a pretty big payday for Deutsche Telekom (then T-Mobile's parent company) and an exit from the U.S. market.

Further, "breakup fees," as they're called, are completely commonplace for mergers of all sizes. There's cost associated with businesses merging even if the deal doesn't go through, and the company that's being acquired needs to be reimbursed for their time spent investigating the deal. The AT&T/T-Mobile merger breakup fee was large, I agree, but it wasn't a backhanded deal on T-Mobile's part.

My opinion csjr1. You're an idiot if you don't see how greedy and disrespectful AT&T is to the customers. AT&T blows. T-Mobile has demonstrated far more interest in leveling the playing field for consumers in the U.S. than any other major carrier.

I think the shared plans are really a hit with customers. I know I switched to the shared 10GB plan with unlimited minutes and text on three phones for $122. This includes a 7% corporate discount I get from my company.
I was paying $165 before on the three phones where I had 2GB, wife had 3GB and the kid had 300mb with 700 minutes to share and no text messaging included. So for me going unlimited on minutes and text was a bonus while we doubled our data and brought down monthly cost by $43, while the contract is still intact.

I agree. I switched on the first day after I read the news. I was paying like $212 for 4 phones and 6gb of data. I'm now paying $140 (20% corporate discount)  for 10gb data.

The new data share plans are good value. I'm getting unlimited talk, text, and 2gb data for $53/month. Way down from the $90 I used to pay for 450 minutes, unlimited text, and 2gb data.

Agreed!  I am paying $65 now for the 2GB plan before insurance and my work discount. Was paying over $90 before for the 3GB data plan. Gotta love the savings!

W00t. Go AT&T. I read they are about to challenge "the goog" to fiber speed boosts. I expect them to kick goog's in the canastas.

Would like to know EXACTLY how many WP are in use or were sold. I know it's probably embarrassingly small but I would like to see some numbers..

I did it three years ago and I haven't looked back since. I now get unlimited text, data, and minutes for $45 a month no contract. The SIM I use gets me AT&Ts data coverage (4G included).

Or live in a major city. My tmobile service blows even verizon out of the water in DC. Rural coverage blows but I stay urban.

Why should it? T-Mobile is bringing pricing pressure (for which I am grateful) but they are also selling a service they are incapable of providing. When the companies that can provide better service and coverage offer plans at near the same price points you need something beyond logic to still choose T-Mobile.

Just be aware that you must use next to upgrade to keep the deal. That means that for each line, you would have to pay at least $30 each if they upgrade. Then it becomes more expensive than the traditional plan.

The Next program is the biggest ripoff ever. How do people pay their regular monthly fee plus extra for Next and they don't get to keep the phone.

Well the way AT&T structures things now, you get a monthly discount on your service when you bring your own device or finance through Next — so you're no longer paying double.

Even an ATT rep told me that Next wasn't going over too well. Pay an extra 20-30 month when you're already paying a subsidy? And what is the logic behind having to have a line with Next payment in order to get a shared data plan?
You're right about having to turn in the phone if want another on Next plan. Pay extra for a year AND trade in the phone?!

It's for the poor, uneducated folks who shouldn't really have these devices anyhow, but are trying to look cool by keeping up with the so called Jonses. I haven't "upgraded" a phone in like 10 years, just buy them outright.

Switch to Straight Talk folks. You can still get AT&Ts data coverage for just $45 unlimited everything ($60 with international). There is no monthly contract and you can transfer your existing number.

I just went to AIO too unlimited talk and text smart phone 2.5 g data $45 with auto pay set up, same service as ATT since they are owned by them... Sound similar to straight talk

Do you get LTE on Straight Talk? I had always wondered. Tethering is included with my Mobile Share plan too and we're coming in at or below $45 per line. That is a very good deal for an individual plan, though, and I almost canceled my contract for it a few months ago.

Almost 18 billion dollars in one quarter?! I guess this two years contracts are really paying off for the consumers.

Devices on-contract prior to some date last year also get the $15 rate (10 GB or higher) Even on-contract or with smaller data it can be a relative deal if the group is large enough, at $40/smartphone and $20/basic phone.

17.9 billion and I have to use a Microcell because I can't get service at my house. Wow. And it's not like I live in the woods either.