AT&T’s quarterly earnings took a hit from Hurricane Sandy and pension costs, despite selling a record number of smartphones over the holiday season. The company outsold its main competitor Verizon Wireless, added many new contract subscribers, and increased revenue from mobile data plans. Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive officer, stated that the company had an excellent 2012. He added, “looking ahead, our key growth platforms– mobile data, U-verse and strategic business services– all have good momentum with a lot of headroom.”
In the fourth quarter of this year, AT&T reported a loss of $3.9 billion, up from last year’s loss of $6.7 billion. The company sold 10.2 million smartphones throughout the quarter, more than any other American carrier. A majority of those smartphones were Apple iPhones. Although AT&T did beat out Verizon Wireless in number of new phones sold, it did not capture nearly the same amount of new contract subscribers over the quarter.
AT&T’s new shared data plans contributed to a 14.7% growth over the quarter. The data plans allows the connection of multiple devices from tablets, computers, and smartphones to one single data plan on an user’s account. The company plans on boosting these numbers by adding fourth-generation network technology called LTE. Nearly 300 million of its customers will have LTE data available to them by the end of next year.
AT&T has plans to increase its bottom line by offering new services, such as Digital Life which is a wireless home security system that will be accessible by tablets or smartphones. Customers will be able to receive alerts and monitor their homes security system with their device. Mr. Stephenson has high hopes for the new options in the mobile phone category. This year, Research In Motion’s new Blackberry 10 system is arriving. Mr. Stephenson said, “I hope that it’s as good as it appears to be.”