AT&T Reports Strong Subscriber Growth, Increases Cash Flow Forecast

Reported earnings for the third quarter demonstrate the company’s resilience and ongoing focus on subscriber growth, technological innovation, and financial performance.

AT&T, a telecommunications giant, announced robust third-quarter results, highlighting substantial growth in subscribers and promising financial performance, with a particular emphasis on its 5G and fiber subscriber base. The company reported revenues of $30.4 billion, representing a 1% year-over-year increase. It posted operating income of $5.8 billion, while adjusted operating income reached $6.5 billion. AT&T’s free cash flow for the quarter was $5.2 billion, a year-over-year increase of $1.3 billion.

Subscriber Growth

AT&T showcased its impressive growth in subscribers, with a particular focus on key segments:

  • Postpaid Subscribers: AT&T reported a total of 86.37 million postpaid subscribers, marking a 3.3% increase compared to the previous year. During the quarter, the company added 550,000 subscribers to this category.
  • Reseller Subscribers: The number of reseller subscribers skyrocketed by 21.3%, reaching 7.10 million from 5.85 million the previous year.
  • Connected Devices: AT&T saw a remarkable increase in connected device subscribers, reaching 122.73 million, reflecting a 20.3% growth over the previous year.
  • 5G and Fiber Growth: The company gained 468,000 postpaid phone net additions and added 296,000 AT&T Fiber net subscribers during the quarter. AT&T Fiber is now available to over 20.7 million customer locations and is on track to serve over 30 million locations by 2025.

Promising Financial Outlook

Source: AT&T

AT&T’s strong financial performance enabled the company to raise its full-year free cash flow forecast to approximately $16.5 billion, up from its previous guidance of at least $16 billion. This improved outlook indicates the company’s commitment to shareholder value, particularly given its significant dividend.

Business Expansion

AT&T is also actively expanding its business with innovations and investments. It is continuously enhancing its wireless and 5G networks, increasing its fiber network capabilities, and supporting initiatives in the broadband and technology sectors.

John Stankey, AT&T CEO, emphasized that their investments in 5G and fiber connectivity have led to profitable customer relationships, increased efficiency, and robust business performance. This progress instills confidence in raising their full-year free cash flow guidance.

AT&T’s strong subscriber growth and enhanced financial outlook demonstrate its sustainable strategy for long-term growth and value creation. This impressive performance, especially in its key subscriber segments, repositions AT&T’s place in the telecommunications industry. The company’s consistent efforts in technology innovation and expanding its network infrastructure contribute to its future success.


AT&T’s recently reported earnings for the third quarter demonstrate the company’s resilience and ongoing focus on subscriber growth, technological innovation, and financial performance. Here’s our take:

  • Robust Subscriber Growth: AT&T’s ability to add 468,000 mobile subscribers in the third quarter is a significant achievement. The growth was primarily driven by attractive promotions and phone upgrades, which indicates that AT&T’s strategies to attract and retain customers are working effectively. The 3.3% increase in postpaid subscribers, bringing the total to 86.37 million, is a notable achievement in a competitive telecom market.
  • Diverse Subscriber Segments: The company’s success extends across various subscriber segments. The rapid increase in reseller subscribers (21.3%) and connected devices users (20.3%) highlights AT&T’s ability to cater to a wide range of customer needs. This diversity in subscriber segments can provide stability in revenue generation.
  • Fiber and 5G Expansion: AT&T’s expansion in fiber and 5G networks is a strategic move to stay competitive in the market. The addition of 468,000 postpaid phone net subscribers and 296,000 AT&T Fiber net subscribers in a single quarter shows the company’s commitment to offering cutting-edge technology and connectivity. The expansion of AT&T Fiber positions the company well to cater to the growing demand for high-speed internet.
  • Financial Performance: AT&T exceeded expectations by posting $5.2 billion in free cash flow for the quarter. This outcome, along with the upward revision of the full-year free cash flow guidance to approximately $16.5 billion, is a positive signal to investors. AT&T’s commitment to shareholder value and dividend sustainability is evident.
  • Leadership’s Confidence: John Stankey, AT&T CEO, expressed his confidence in the company’s performance and its ability to maintain profitable customer relationships. This indicates that AT&T’s strategic initiatives, including investments in 5G and fiber connectivity, are on track and contributing to the company’s strong performance.
  • Strategic Investments and Innovations: AT&T’s expansion of the largest wireless network in North America, growth in consumer fiber networks, and initiatives like AT&T Internet Air demonstrate the company’s focus on innovation and adapting to changing consumer needs. The company’s effort to enhance its broadband infrastructure further solidifies its position as a leading telecom provider in the U.S.

In summary, AT&T’s third-quarter earnings report reflects a company that is successfully expanding its subscriber base, investing in cutting-edge technology, and delivering strong financial results. The increased free cash flow forecast and the CEO’s confidence in the company’s performance underscore AT&T’s commitment to long-term growth and value creation. AT&T’s strategic positioning in 5G, fiber, and connectivity services, combined with its diverse subscriber base, will likely keep the company competitive in the evolving telecom landscape.

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