AT&T Inc. exceeded Wall Street profit estimates while adding wireless customers and continuing growth in subscribers to its HBO Max video service, relieving concerns about the costs for new entertainment productions and the expansion of its 5G network.
Second-quarter earnings were 89 cents a share on $44 billion in revenue, topping estimates of 80 cents on $42.8 billion. The most recent figure excludes a 52-cent charge for Latin American video unit Vrio. AT&T added 1.16 million regular wireless customers. Analysts expected a gain of about 300,000. Of those, 789,000 were new phone subscribers. And TV customers continued to flee, with 473,000 canceling service in the quarter. Analysts expected a pay-TV subscriber loss of about 600,000.
The Dallas-based company said Thursday that it added 2.8 million more U.S. HBO and HBO Max subscribers in the second quarter, for a total of 47 million. AT&T reported about 67.5 million worldwide subscribers to the premium channel and the streaming platform and now says it will have 70 million to 73 million by the end of 2021. The company no longer discloses an activation figure for HBO Max.