AT&T shifts focus to b-to-b

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Bedminster, N.J.--Faced with a profit plunge of nearly 80% in the second quarter, telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. said it would shift its focus to serving business markets rather than acquiring new consumer accounts.

AT&T reported net income of $108 million, or 14 cents a share, for the second quarter, compared with net income of $536 million, or 68 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2003. Revenue for the period was $7.6 billion, down 13.2% from a year earlier.

“While nearly 75% of our revenue now comes from AT&T Business, the AT&T brand has been known throughout the world as a premiere consumer telecom provider,” said David Dorman, AT&T chairman-CEO, during a conference call with investors Thursday.

“However, we determined that without the support of the regulatory environment to allow for evolution to facilities-based competition, our focus for the future needs to be the business market, where we have clear and differentiated advantages versus our traditional IXC [interexchange carrier] competitors and the RBOCs [regional Bell operating companies].”

Dorman said AT&T will no longer invest in acquiring consumer local and standalone long-distance accounts, and will concentrate instead on business markets and emerging technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol.

--Kate Maddox

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