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AT&T hovers around Q4 estimates as business revenue takes a dip

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 63 cents per share with $42.75 billion in revenue for the holiday quarter.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

AT&T published fourth quarter and year-end financial results after the bell on Tuesday.

The tech titan reported a net income of $4 billion, or 65 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 63 cents per share on a revenue of $42.1 billion, up 22 percent year-over-year. But AT&T was quick to note that jump was in part due to the DirecTV acquisition.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 63 cents per share with $42.75 billion in revenue for the holiday quarter.

AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson insisted in the report that the DirecTV integration is coming along accordingly.

"We now have a unique set of capabilities that positions us for growth and also gives us a strategic advantage in providing consumers and businesses the integrated mobile, video and data solutions they want," Stephenson wrote.

But looking closer at AT&T's Business Solutions unit, AT&T said revenues were slightly down year-over-year. Strategic services delivered revenue of $2.8 billion, which was up 10.3 percent when adjusted for foreign exchange rates.

Other spots in the AT&T portfolio continue to grow as the telco giant added 2.8 million wireless customers as the LTE network has spanned to cover approximately 355 million people and businesses.

Mexico is also proving to be a source of growth for AT&T following numerous, multi-billion dollar acquisitions. AT&T saw roughly 638,000 wireless-branded net additions in the region.

"We're also seeing terrific results from our expansion into the Mexican mobile market," Stephenson boasted.

For 2015 overall, AT&T posted $146.8 billion in revenue, a 10.8 percent increase from 2014, with $2.37 earnings per share.

For the current quarter, Wall Street is looking for non-GAAP earnings of 71 cents per share with $41.72 billion in revenue.

AT&T responded with an annual outlook of "double-digit consolidated revenue growth" and the hope of growing earnings per share in the single-digit range.

Earlier this month, the telecommunications giant unveiled several new hardware products, developer tools and upgrades directed toward connected platforms (specifically, the Internet of Things) at CES in Las Vegas.

AT&T reiterated in a new report at the time that it expects 50 billion "things," or connected apps and hardware, to be linked up and sharing data from smartphones to traffic lights and beyond by 2020.

The nation's second largest mobile provider followed up with more developments for its business customer base last week with the introduction of a new 2-for-1 scheme directed specifically at corporate customers -- both new and existing.

The catch is at least one of these new smartphones must be purchased for a new line and with AT&T's Next installment plan. The other device could be for a new line or simply an upgrade.

AT&T Next effectively replaces the old two-year contract standard with a monthly installment plan for devices and network coverage, with options ranging between 12 and 24 months.

The networking company also boasted it has added one million more business customer locations to its growing Fiber network since first launching in 2012.

The latest expansion extended AT&T's U.S. fiber network another 76,000 route miles, bringing the total to nearly 500,000 miles covered nationwide across 21 states now.

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