John Stephens, senior vice president and chief financial officer of AT&T*, provided an update to investors while speaking at the Cowen Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.  

Stephens said the company expects a ruling on June 12 in the suit brought against AT&T and Time Warner by the U.S. Department of Justice and stands ready to close if the court rules in its favor. He reiterated that the company expects annualized cost synergies of $1.5 billion by the end of the third year after close.

Stephens also discussed AT&T’s other priorities for this year, including developing its next-generation streaming video platform and targeted advertising capabilities. AT&T expects to build on its successful history of managing technology transitions as the video industry moves from linear to over-the-top (OTT) services. He said the company expects to expand its video offerings to better address each customer segment and grow its total video subscriber base.

This includes AT&T’s top-of-the-line services DIRECTV and U-verse and OTT service DIRECTV NOW. Following the close of the Time Warner deal, the company plans to introduce AT&T Watch, a skinny package without local programming or sports-only channels. By the end of the year, the company also expects to launch a premium streaming experience that will compete with traditional linear TV products for in-home use. The product will be app-based with a small device that connects to customers’ TVs and home broadband. This service will offer the same content as linear TV with a great user experience and lower price points.

Stephens also said advertising is a significant part of the company’s video strategy and noted the vast ad inventory AT&T will have across its platforms following the Time Warner acquisition. The company will be able to offer more targeted advertising using data from its broad base of mobile and video subscribers, as well as subscribers to other properties like Otter Media, HBO and Turner Digital.

Stephens also discussed the wireless competitive environment and the company’s FirstNet deployment. AT&T continues to expect wireless service revenue to return to growth in 2018 on a comparable basis.

Stephens said the FirstNet deployment is off to a strong start. FirstNet is the first-ever nationwide public safety broadband network for America’s first responders. The company has launched the first and only dedicated network core for first responders and expects FirstNet capital spending of $2 billion this year.

In addition to its work with FirstNet, Stephens said AT&T expects to be the first U.S. company to launch standards-based mobile 5G service in 2018. The company also conducted 5G fixed wireless trials and has seen gigabit speeds on millimeter wave spectrum. The company also plans to reach 500 markets with 5G Evolution technology by the end of 2018. With 5G Evolution, the company is seeing speeds at two times of standard LTE in many areas.

A replay of the webcast will be available later today at

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a holding company. AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T Inc. is available at

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