AT&T CEO John Stankey Updates Shareholders
AT&T CEO John Stankey Updates Shareholders
In discussing the company’s priorities since he became CEO last year, Stankey said AT&T has now successfully restructured its asset base to position its largest remaining entities – AT&T Communications and WarnerMedia – to better capitalize on the long-term structural tailwinds of each of their respective markets. Following the close of the WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction, Stankey believes AT&T Communications and Warner Bros. Discovery will each have the right scale, capital structure and asset base to lead their respective industries.
The company is pleased with early momentum in its strategic areas of focus underscored by continued strength in 5G, fiber and HBO Max subscribers. However, to deliver on the long-term benefits of management’s vision, Stankey recognizes that the company must continue to consistently execute, innovate, drive out additional costs and build upon its recent market momentum to improve its value proposition across all of its customer segments.
In AT&T’s wireless unit, customers have been receptive to the company’s simplified and consistent go-to-market strategy combined with its network quality. AT&T’s network is performing as well as ever, recently winning recognition as the Nation’s Best 5G Network1 and, for the fourth straight year, America’s Best Wireless Network2 overall. This has helped drive improved subscriber growth trends and lower churn, indicating that customers are happy with the combination of service and network quality AT&T delivers. AT&T expects to continue to invest — and has the ability to accelerate that investment if warranted — to deliver 5G capabilities to its expanding customer base, particularly as new applications and use cases for the technology emerge.
AT&T continues to deploy fiber across its wired footprint and remains confident in its ability to reach about 2.5 million incremental customer locations passed by the end of 2021. As previously noted, AT&T has experienced some disruption in its supply chain. However, the company now believes this has been addressed and remains comfortable with its long-term guidance to reach 30 million locations by the end of 2025. Stankey believes AT&T’s multi-year investment plan will give the company a competitive advantage as it deploys technology that delivers 25X faster upload speeds than cable.3
Stankey indicated that AT&T continues to expect to close the pending WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction in mid-2022. In the interim, AT&T remains focused on expanding HBO Max’s global footprint. HBO Max launched in 39 Latin America territories in June and is set to launch in six European countries next month, with plans to launch in at least 14 additional European territories in 2022. AT&T expects HBO Max subscriber growth in the second half of 2021 to primarily come from outside the United States, reflecting the strategic decision to cease offering HBO Max on Amazon Channels. While AT&T expects this decision will likely impact total HBO Max / HBO domestic subscribers and net additions in the third quarter, Stankey said he is encouraged by initial international subscriber activity and believes exciting content launches in the second half of 2021 and first half of 2022 will help drive continued subscriber growth. AT&T continues to expect to reach 70 million to 73 million global HBO Max and HBO subscribers by the end of 2021.4
1 AT&T awarded Best 5G Network by GWS OneScore 2021. GWS conducts paid drive tests for AT&T and uses the data in its OneScore analysis. AT&T 5G requires compatible plan and device. 5G not available everywhere. Go to att.com/5Gforyou for details.
2 AT&T awarded Best Network by GWS OneScore 2021. GWS conducts paid drive tests for AT&T and uses the data in its OneScore analysis. AT&T 5G requires compatible plan and device. 5G not available everywhere. Go to att.com/5Gforyou for details.
3 Comparison of Internet 1000 wired upload connection speed to Xfinity, Spectrum & COX 1Gig and 1.2Gig service with uploads of 35 Mbps. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.
4 Global HBO Max and HBO subscribers consist of domestic and international HBO Max and HBO subscribers, and exclude free trials, basic and Cinemax subscribers.