AT&T today announced its Q2 2021 earnings results through which we analyze their consumer-facing fiber broadband business and recent trends for its subscribers.
AT&T Consumer Wireline – Q2 2021
In Q2 2021, AT&T generated $2.3bn of revenue from broadband services, which sits within its Consumer Wireline business unit. During the quarter, AT&T added only 28k ‘net’ broadband and DSL subscribers, bringing its total broadband and DSL subscribers to 14.2 million. However, within AT&T’s broadband services, operating trends differ materially between fiber, non-fiber, and DSL connections.
Broadband and DSL Subscribers
During Q2 2021, AT&T gained 246k fiber broadband subscribers, lost 195k non-fiber broadband subscribers, and lost 23k DSL subscribers.
Fiber Broadband Subscribers
AT&T ended Q2 2021 with 5.4 million fiber broadband subscribers, an increase of 1.1 million subscribers year-over-year. Indeed, this represents a 25.7% gain in subscriber count, as compared to AT&T’s 4.3 million fiber broadband subscribers as of Q2 2020.
AT&T estimates that nearly 80% of net new fiber subscriber additions are new AT&T broadband customers. This represents a difference in trend from gaining fiber subscribers via upgrades of its own high-speed Internet customers using older technologies, such as VDSL and DSL.
Overall, AT&T now has a fiber broadband penetration rate of 36%, on the nearly 15 million customer locations that the company passes with fiber. Importantly, AT&T has increased its fiber broadband penetration rate from 31% in Q2 2020.
In comparison, Verizon’s Fios business registered 6.7 million fiber customers (consumer and business) as of Q2 2021. Narrowing this metric to consumer-only, Verizon’s Fios unit had 6.4 million fiber customers at quarter-end.
AT&T’s broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) reached $54.76 as of Q2 2021. Indeed, this represents a 6.1% increase year-over-year from ARPU figures of $51.61 at Q2 2020. AT&T notes that increases to ARPU reflect fiber subscriber growth and customer take-up of higher speed/pricing tiers.
AT&T Fiber Targets – Analyst & Investor Day
Recall that AT&T set-out annual fiber deployment targets at its Analyst & Investor Day. In 2021, AT&T plans to increase its fiber broadband footprint by an additional 3 million customer locations. Furthermore, the company will accelerate its target in 2022, to cover 4 million additional customer locations with fiber, during the year.
Overall, these near-term plans form part of AT&T’s strategy to expand its fiber broadband footprint to cover 30 million customer locations by year-end 2025.
AT&T also reiterated its prior guidance for “1 million Fiber net adds for full-year” 2021. Indeed, the company is on-pace to hit this target, having already added 481k subscribers during the first-half of 2021.