AT&T reported net income of US$2.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008, down from $3.1 billion in the previous year, with declining voice revenue offsetting gains in iPhone adoptions and broadband profit increases.
AT&T posted operating revenue of $31.1 billion for the fourth quarter, up from $30.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. The company narrowly missed analyst expectations, however, with adjusted earnings per share of $0.64, while analysts expected $0.65, according to Thomson Reuters.
"Despite the economic environment, we grew revenues in 2008, and I expect 2009 will be another year of overall revenue growth and solid progress for our company," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
For the year, AT&T reported revenue of $124 billion, up 4.3 percent, and net income of $12.9 billion, up 7.7 percent over 2007.
AT&T's traditional voice services posted revenue of $8.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $9.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Operating expenses also increased by about $1.3 billion.
Those numbers were partially offset by AT&T's mobile phone division. The company reported a net gain of 2.1 million wireless customers in the fourth quarter, with 1.9 million new Apple iPhone customers. About 40 percent of iPhone customers are new to AT&T, the company said.
AT&T had 77 million mobile phone customers at the end of the year.
AT&T Wireless posted revenue of $11.5 billion, up from $10.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, not including sales of handset and accessory sales. AT&T's wireless data revenue grew 51.2 percent to $3.1 billion. AT&T Wireless customers sent nearly 80 billion text messages during the fourth quarter, more than double the number from the fourth quarter of 2007.
The company also reported growth in its fiber-based U-verse television and broadband numbers. AT&T's U-verse TV service had a net gain of 264,000 customers in the fourth quarter, up from 232,000 in the third quarter.
The company's wireline data revenue grew by 14.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007.
AT&T's total broadband connections, which include wireline subscribers and wireless customers with 3G LaptopConnect cards, increased by 357,000 in the fourth quarter to reach 16.3 million in service, up 1.5 million or 10.3 percent over the past year.