updated 07:20 pm EST, Tue January 28, 2014
Total smartphone penetration grows to 77 percent from 70 percent in 2012
AT&T has released its quarterly earnings report. For the latest period, the company's consolidated revenues totaled $33.2 billion, up 1.8 percent versus the year-earlier period. Compared with results for the fourth quarter of 2012, operating expenses were $20.9 billion versus $38.5 billion, and operating income was $12.2 billion compared to a loss of $6.0 billion. Notably, smartphones accounted for a record 93 percent of postpaid phone sales in the quarter, which included the release of Apple's iPhone 5c and 5s.
Operating income was $5.2 billion versus $4.2 billion a year ago, while operating income margin was 15.5 percent, up from 12.9 percent last year. Fourth-quarter 2013 cash from operating activities totaled $7.9 billion, and capital expenditures totaled $5.5 billion. Free cash flow -- cash from operating activities minus capital expenditures -- totaled $2.5 billion.
During the quarter, the company repurchased 54 million of its shares for $1.9 billion. In 2013, the company repurchased 366 million shares, or more than six percent of outstanding shares, for $13.0 billion.
Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 4.5 percent year-over-year to $18.4 billion. Wireless service revenues increased 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter to $15.7 billion. Wireless data revenues increased 16.8 percent from the year-earlier quarter to $5.7 billion. Fourth-quarter wireless operating expenses totaled $14.5 billion, down 3.9 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, and wireless operating income was $3.9 billion, up 53.8 percent year-over-year.
AT&T added 1.2 million postpaid smartphones in the fourth quarter. At the end of the quarter, 77 percent, or 51.9 million, of AT&T's postpaid phone subscribers had smartphones -- up from 70 percent, or 47.1 million, a year earlier. The company sold 7.9 million smartphones in the quarter: More than one million of those smartphone sales were on the new AT&T Next program. Smartphones accounted for a record 93 percent of postpaid phone sales in the quarter.
The company had its lowest-ever fourth-quarter postpaid churn, or account turnover to other carriers, of 1.11 percent compared to 1.19 percent in the year-ago quarter. Total churn was stable at 1.43 percent versus 1.42 percent in the year-ago quarter.