AT&T Inc. topped Wall Street wireless subscriber growth estimates as phone giveaways continue to fuel customer gains, giving the company a favorable start as it parts with its media business and returns to its roots as a telecom giant.
The spinoff of WarnerMedia this month means AT&T is back to the old grind of competing with cable companies. Only this time, the battle isn’t over selling bundles—TV, internet and phone at the lowest price—it’s about the quality of the broadband connection, whether it’s wireless or fiber, AT&T CEO John Stankey said.
“We’re kind of at that golden age of connectivity that’s starting to emerge,” Stankey said in an interview on Thursday.
AT&T made a well-timed exit from the media and streaming business this month ahead of Netflix Inc.’s disappointing results Tuesday that knocked down the value of nearly all of the streaming-service companies. AT&T spun off and merged its WarnerMedia division with Discovery Inc. to create Warner Bros. Discovery.
HBO and HBO Max, now part of Warner Bros. Discovery, have a total of 76.8 million subscribers worldwide, up 3 million last quarter. In the U.S., HBO and HBO Max have 48.6 million customers. Analysts expected domestic subscribers to be 48.8 million. The average U.S. HBO monthly bill was $11.24.