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AT&T Gains 2.1 Million Net Adds But Loses Postpaid Phone Subs

Dallas – Tablets, connected cars, and Cricket-brand prepaid service drove AT&T’s second-quarter net subscriber additions to 2.1 million from the year-ago 634,000, but the company lost 190,000 postpaid phone subscribers.

In the overall postpaid segment, however, the company gained 410,000 net new, all due to a gain of 600,000 postpaid tablet and computing-device net adds, which offset the 190,000 loss in postpaid phone subscribers.

For the first half, net new postpaid tablet and computing-device net adds came to 1.31 million, but the postpaid phone subscriber base fell by 460,000.

A resurgent prepaid business, led by the company’s Cricket brand, boosted second-quarter prepaid phone net adds by 331,000 compared to a year-ago loss of 286,000. For the first half, the carrier gained 429,000 net prepaid phone subscribers compared to a year-ago loss of 198,000.

In connected devices such as connected cars, net new subscriptions surged to 1.45 million from the year-ago 56,000, and for the half, connected-device net adds rose to 2.4 million from the year-ago 611,000.

The company lost 95,000 reseller subscribers in the quarter and lost 361,000 in the first half.

The carrier ended the quarter with 123.9 million subscriptions, of which 76.5 million were postpaid subscriptions, 10.4 million were prepaid, 23.4 million were connected devices, and 13.5 million were reseller subscriptions.

For the quarter, AT&T fell behind Verizon and T-Mobile in postpaid net adds (combining phones, tablets and computing devices). Verizon gained 1.1 million postpaid nets adds, including 321,000 postpaid phone net adds.

 T-Mobile’s total postpaid net subscriber additions hit more than 1 million.

Other wireless performance measures released by AT&T include:

No-subsidy plans: The percentage of smartphones activated with no-subsidy Next installment-payment plans rose to 68 percent in the quarter from the first quarter’s 65 percent and the year-ago 51 percent. A total of 37 percent of the smartphone subscriber base is on a Next plan.

Another 334,000 consumers brought their own smartphones to the AT&T network. As a result, 74 percent of postpaid smartphone activations in the quarter were activations of unsubsidized smartphones, AT&T said.

Out of the postpaid smartphone subscriber base, 64 percent of subscribers are using unsubsidized phones.

A total of 85 percent of postpaid phone subscribers, or 57.5 million postpaid subscribers, are using smartphones, the company noted.

Wireless revenue: Wireless revenues grew 2.1 percent to $18.3 billion, but wireless operating income grew faster at 8.2 percent to $4.68 billion.

For the six months, wireless revenues were up 1.9 percent to $36.5 billion, but operating income was down 2.7 percent to $9.13 billion.

In other comments, AT&T said it plans trial integration of the Nest Learning thermostat with AT&T’s Digital Life home-automation and security system.