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Telecom Stock Roundup: AT&T, T-Mobile US, Comcast Impress in Q1, Verizon Reveals Mixed Bag

Last week was all about earnings in the telecom sector. Several major sector participants revealed their first-quarter 2016 financial numbers. AT&T Inc. T, T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS and Comcast Corp. CMCSA reported strong financial results wherein both the top and the bottom line outpaced the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, Verizon Communications Inc. VZ and Crown Castle International Corp. CCI came out with a mixed bag.

Despite solid results, AT&T’s subscriber growth rate dwindled. The company’s U.S. postpaid wireless subscriber addition of 129,000 was down a significant 70.7% year over year. Consumer Mobility postpaid churn rate was 1.24% compared with 1.20% in the year-ago quarter while Business wireless postpaid churn rate was 1.02% compared with 0.90% in the year-ago quarter. In the reported quarter, AT&T lost 382,000 U-verse customers but gained 328,000 satellite TV customers. Total broadband connections at this segment were 14,291,000, down 1.7%. Total wireline voice connections were 12,113,000, down 11.4%.

In contrast to AT&T, another leading national wireless operator T-Mobile US continues to add an impressive number of subscribers. In the reported quarter, the company added net 0.877 branded postpaid phone customers, 0.164 branded postpaid mobile broadband customers, 0.807 branded prepaid customers and 0.373 wholesale customers. Total net customer addition was 2.221 million, signifying the 12th successive quarter of over one million net customer additions. Out of this, net postpaid customer addition was 1.041 million, signifying the 7th straight quarter of over one million of net postpaid customer addition.

Meanwhile, leading cable MSO (multi service operator), Comcast, witnessed surprising customer additions for triple-play video, high-speed data and voice services. The company added a net of 438,000 high-speed Internet customers, 102,000 voice customers and 53,000 video subscribers in the reported quarter. Comcast gained 99,000 triple-play subscribers, 125,000 double-play subscribers and 45,000 single-play subscribers, in the reported quarter.

On the other hand, Verizon’s top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate while the bottom line managed to meet the same. During the reported quarter, the company added 0.64 million postpaid customers (up 13.3% year over year) while the prepaid customer count decreased by 0.177 million (down 5.9% year over year). Verizon also added 36,000 FiOS video subscribers, 98,000 FiOS Internet customers and 46,000 FiOS digital voice residential connections. However, high-speed Internet connection tally dropped 16.5% to 2.086 million.

Additionally, a leading wireless tower operator, Crown Castle International reported mixed financial numbers in the first quarter of 2016, wherein the top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate while the bottom line surpassed the same.

Apart from earnings releases, a leading international wireless tower operator American Tower Corp. AMT recently completed its acquisition of a 51% controlling ownership interest in Viom Networks Ltd., a major wireless tower operator in India.

Read the last Telecom Stock Roundup for Apr 21, 2016.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1.    In the first quarter of 2016, AT&T reported net income of $3,803 million or 61 cents per share in comparison with $3,263 million or 63 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Quarterly adjusted earnings per share came in at 72 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents. Quarterly total revenue increased 24.4% year over year to $40,535 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $40,493 million (read more: AT&T Earnings, Revenues Beat; Slack Customer Growth).

2.    GAAP net income of T-Mobile US, in first-quarter 2016 was $467 million or 56 cents per share as against a net loss of $63 million or a loss of 9 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Quarterly earnings per share of 56 cents came in significantly above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 18 cents. Total revenue increased 10.6% year over year to $8,599 million in the first quarter, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8,446 million (read more: T-Mobile US Tops Q1 Earnings & Revenues, View Up).

3.    GAAP net income of Comcast in the first quarter of 2016 came in at $2,134 million or 87 cents per share compared with $2,059 million or 81 cents in the prior-year quarter. Notably, quarterly adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents. Quarterly total revenue was $18,790 million, up 5.2% year over year and ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $18,632 million (read more: Comcast Beats on Earnings as Customers Increase).

4.    In first-quarter 2016, Verizon’s adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.06 in the reported quarter. Quarterly GAAP net income was $4,430 million compared with $4,338 million in the year-ago quarter.Quarterly total revenue increased 0.6% year over year to $32,171 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at $32,406 million (read more: Verizon Posts Mixed Q1: Earnings In Line, Revenues Lag).

5.    Crown Castle International reported first-quarter 2016 earnings per share of $1.18, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.09. However, GAAP net income fell over 67% year over year to $36.8 million. Net revenue in the reported quarter increased 3.8% year over year to $934.4 million but lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $937 million (read more: Crown Castle Q1 Earnings Top, Revenues Lag; View Up).

Price Performance

The following table shows the price movement of the major telecom players over the past week and the last six months.

Company

Last Week

Last 6 Months

VZ

-0.12%

14.54%

T

0.00%

19.69%

S

-3.16%

-24.59%

TMUS

-1.12%

1.74%

VOD

-1.16%

2.62%

CHL

2.74%

-3.47%

AMX

0.00%

-6.99%

CMCSA

-0.26%

0.49%

DISH

5.40%

-19.20%

Over the last five trading sessions, share price movement of the major telecom stocks was mostly negative. Sprint Corp. S lost the most (3.16%) while DISH Network Corp. DISH was the biggest gainer (5.40%) in the last five sessions. Over the last six months, the price performance of most of the key telecom stocks showed a mixed trend. Among the stocks that depreciated were Sprint (24.59%) and DISH Network (19.20%). On the other hand, Verizon (14.54%) and AT&T (19.69%) gained substantially over the last six months.

What’s Next in the Telecom Sector?

We expect a lot of activity in the telecom sector over the next week as big names like Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, BCE Inc., Level 3 Communications, Cablevision Systems, CenturyLink, Sprint, Frontier Communications and American Tower will release their first-quarter 2016 financial results. Outside the U.S., Telefonica and Grupo Televisa are also slated to report their first-quarter 2016 financial results. The markets will keep a watch on these quarterly results to assess industry dynamics and growth prospects.

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AMER TOWER CORP (AMT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CROWN CASTLE (CCI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SPRINT CORP (S): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VERIZON COMM (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DISH NETWORK CP (DISH): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
COMCAST CORP A (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
T-MOBILE US INC (TMUS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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