If Verizon Communications Inc. had a strong first quarter with its FiOS business, AT&T Inc. had a knock-out one with U-verse: The telco added a whopping 731,000 U-verse Internet subscribers and 232,000 TV subscribers during the first three months of 2013. (See FiOS Turns the Screw on Cable.)
As cable providers continue to lose video service customers, AT&T and Verizon are scooping up market share with consistent subscriber gains. AT&T's wireline revenue numbers also reflect the telecom sector's improving fortunes in the pay-TV business: U-verse revenues grew 31.5 percent year-on-year -- a nice offset to the company's declining landline phone business -- and the average revenue per user for customers with a triple-play package has stayed above $170.
On the broadband services front, AT&T is proving that the threat of Google Fiber and other gigabit deployments is still a weak one at present. Despite the company's fiber-to-the-node architecture, and the speed limits of its copper-based last mile, AT&T is still raking in new broadband customers. While Google and others are promising 1Gbit/s Internet access speeds, AT&T proudly reports that "more than 56 percent of U-verse broadband subscribers have a plan delivering speeds up to 10 Mbit/s or higher."
At the end of the first quarter, AT&T had 8.4 million U-verse broadband subscribers and 4.8 million U-verse TV customers.
For more on AT&T's first quarter, see AT&T Wireless Revs Up 21 percent in Q1 2013 and AT&T Says LTE Deployment Is Ahead of Schedule.
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable