AT&T CEO John Stankey on business growth plans

AT&T CEO John Stankey today revealed additional details about the company’s 5G business plans after recently winning the 5G spectrum auction for $23 billion.
AT&T Store Snellville“We’re being deliberate and strategic with how we allocate capital to invest in our market focus areas of 5G, fiber and HBO Max, while being committed to sustaining the dividend at current levels and utilizing cash after dividends to reduce debt,” said John Stankey, AT&T CEO.

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AT&T’s number one priority in 2021 is growing customers. “It’s about more than adding to our customer base. It’s about expanding the growth opportunity in our three market focus areas and also increasing our share within each market,” Stankey said.

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AT&T expects an increased focus on growth areas enabled by separating the U.S. video business — that will happen during the second half of 2021 — will improve the trajectory of revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA growth for its remaining business.

AT&T remains focused on growing connectivity within its wireless and fiber products. With its hybrid fixed and mobile network approach, the company is well positioned to meet the connectivity needs of all customer segments.

The company is expanding its fiber footprint to households and businesses in 90 metro areas across the United States. AT&T expects the 3 million additional fiber customer locations planned for 2021 will support momentum in its broadband business unit.

In areas where AT&T has deployed its fiber network, the company has 10 percent higher market share than its competitors and about 70 percent of its gross additions are new to AT&T. In 2021, AT&T expects broadband revenue growth in the mid-single digits and expanding margins in its broadband business unit.

AT&T has more than doubled the spectrum deployed in its network over the last four years, with 70 percent of its low and mid-band spectrum in service. As it deploys the remaining 30 percent of low and mid-band spectrum, the company expects further enhanced performance in the top 50 urban markets, which it believes will help support continued customer growth.

AT&T expects to begin to deploy 40 MHz of its 80 MHz of C-band spectrum by the end of 2021. The company also expects millimeter wave spectrum to be a key part of its broader network densification strategy. AT&T continues to expect wireless service revenue growth in the 2 percent range with modest wireless EBITDA growth for full-year 2021.

In addition to its updated guidance for HBO Max and HBO subscribers by the end of 2025, AT&T further expects to end 2021 with between 67 and 70 million subscribers worldwide, up from about 61 million at the end of 2020.

AT&T expects its Home Box Office business unit revenues to more than double over the next 5 years. As HBO Max scales at a global level, the company plans to increase investment, with expectations for peak dilution in 2022 and break even in 2025.

AT&T said subscriber and revenue growth in 2021 are expected to be partially driven by the initial international expansion of HBO Max and the launch of an advertising-supported version of HBO Max.

Baburajan Kizhakedath