AT&T Gets a Do-Over. But It Doesn’t Have Much Time.

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Once it sheds its media business, AT&T will be a smaller, less-indebted company devoted to selling cellphone plans and broadband internet access. In other words, customers and investors will see an AT&T much like the one that existed before its foray into streaming video and satellite TV. But its rivals haven’t been sitting still. “AT&T has a lot of catching up to do,” said Craig Moffett, a longtime telecom analyst at industry research firm MoffettNathanson LLC. “They’re almost certain to be a third player in a three-horse race.” AT&T is still the country’s No. 3 wireless carrier after falling behind a newly enlarged T-Mobile US in 2020. It serves more than 83 million cellphone customers and many more Wi-Fi hot spots, connected cars and other mobile devices. The company also connects 14 million residential internet users through its network of fiber-optic cables and copper wires, the latter a legacy of its Ma Bell heritage. Moffett said company leaders made the right decision by refocusing their attention on AT&T’s core strengths, though the business will face challenges getting an edge over rivals. But they must still contend with business units facing high costs and shrinking revenue. An AT&T spokesman disagreed, saying the company’s wireless spectrum position “has never been stronger” and still has slack capacity to serve more data to wireless customers. The company told investors it expects to increase its overall revenue and adjusted per-share earnings in the long run.

AT&T Gets a Do-Over. But It Doesn’t Have Much Time. After Media Detour, AT&T Confronts Old Problems (NYTimes) Holman Jenkins: AT&T’s Ride May Get Bumpier The AT&T and Discovery megadeal has a possible silver lining for streaming customers (Washington Post)