AT&T sees consumer market slowdown

AT&T, which seemed to be surging on all fronts over the second half of 2007, fell back a step or two yesterday, after CEO Randall Stephenson told the Citi Entertainment, Media and Telecom Conference the carrier was seeing some softness in the consumer business. He said the primary culprit is service disconnections due to customers not keeping up with payments for their broadband services. Making the clear connection to the housing and credit crises and the generally crappy economy should keep investors from panicking that AT&T will be too harshly affected. However, the company's stock price did fall sharply yesterday after a robust performance the last few months, and some market watchers analyzing the Dow's 238-point drop, yesterday pointed partial blame at Stephenson's comments.

Stephenson said the enterprise market has been a positive surprise recently and should remain strong this year. He also said AT&T would continue to invest in its IPTV services, but would slow investments in its wireless network this year as it concludes 3G network upgrades.

For more:
- see this piece in Telephony
- read this story in The New York Times

Related articles:
- AT&T last month announced a dividend and increased its stock buy-back