AT&T sheds more lucrative wireless customers in 1Q

People walk past the AT&T store in New York's Times Square

The company said that it had $0.74 in earnings per share (EPS) and $39.4 billion in revenue, versus consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $0.74 in EPS and $40.57 billion in revenue.

Adjusting for $0.18 of costs for amortization, merger- and integration-related and other items, earnings per diluted share was $0.74 compared to an adjusted $0.72 in the year-ago quarter. Year-to-date, T has declined -3.86%, versus a 7.18% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period. Wireless service revenues of $14.5 billion were down 1.8 percent with pressure from adoption of Mobile Share and unlimited plans, partially offset by continued growth in branded smartphones and tablets. But just as important, the strategic moves we've made over the last few months to expand our wireless capacity and fortify our 5G leadership will be felt for years to come.

Business wireless revenue was down 2.1 percent year over year to $9.4 billion, reflecting lower equipment revenues from lower sales. AT&T also announced acquisitions of Fiber Tower and Straight Path to add millimeter wave spectrum assets to spruce up 5G.

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AT&T added 2.7 million customers, on a "gross" basis, of which 2.1 million in the US, driven by the "pre-paid" variety.

AT&T is fighting to both keep and add customers and increase revenue amid a price war with smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp.

AT&T's wireless business, its main moneymaker, lost 348,000 mainstream wireless phone customers, marking a return to the large losses characteristic of the past two years after an easing in the previous period.

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Shares of At&t closed today at $39.94, down $0.08 or -0.20%.

The company noted it had 2.7 million wireless net adds for the quarter.

AT&T said capital expenditures will be $22 billion in 2017. AT&T says that because it can not predict handset sales in advance, it no longer will forecast revenue for future quarters.

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AT&T on Tuesday updated its guidance for 2017, saying that it expects adjusted EPS growth in the mid-single digit range.

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