AT&T CEO says it has already connected first Gigapower customer

AT&T is looking to reach at least 1.5 million locations with fiber through its Gigapower joint venture with BlackRock and is apparently wasting no time getting started. While its deal with the private equity firm has yet to close, AT&T CEO John Stankey said during an earnings call the operator already has a live customer on the new network.

Stankey didn’t specify what market the aforementioned customer is in. However, AT&T indicated in January that Mesa, Arizona would be one of Gigapower’s starting points.

The CEO said the deal with BlackRock is expected to close “imminently.” He added AT&T is at the ready with “all the infrastructure we need to sell and support customers through our channels.”

“I want to stress we are the first seller of product on that infrastructure, and it’s not an insignificant accomplishment for us to be able to have everything through the processes of activating our distribution channels in out of region markets so they can talk to customers and sell and support the product and service so we can support the kind of penetration we want to drive on that infrastructure,” he said. “So, feel really good about the progress there.”

In terms of its in-house fiber progress, AT&T added around 600,000 new passings in Q1 2023 to bring its total to approximately 19.7 million. It gained 272,000 consumer fiber customers in the quarter, but ended up losing 23,000 consumer broadband customers as non-fiber subscriber losses outpaced those additions. It should be noted, though, that the 23,000 figure excludes AT&T’s DSL metrics. The consumer fiber net addition figure was also down from 316,000 in Q1 2022.

Stankey attributed the slowdown to lower move activity. New Street Research noted “cable companies have already warned of weaker 1Q23 broadband adds, so trends at AT&T shouldn’t be a surprise.” The analyst firm tipped net adds across the industry to be “down 20-20% in 1Q23 from 1Q22," but added it expects fiber player Frontier Communications to post “strong net adds.”

Copper concerns

Edward Jones analyst David Heger told Fierce he expects non-fiber customers to continue to be a drag on AT&T’s results. On the bright side, however, he noted that the more customers AT&T can move off its copper plant, the more cost savings it can reap.

Stankey addressed the copper to fiber transition during the call, stating it expects to hit a $6 billion cost cutting goal it set in 2020 by the end of this year at the latest. He said the move away from copper could help it accelerate its savings and perhaps even go beyond its target.

AT&T is already “seeing that fiber uses less energy, costs less to maintain and requires fewer service dispatches” than copper, he said. “As we reduce our copper services footprint and related legacy infrastructure, we expect to consistently improve our margins, grow EBITDA and ultimately improve our capital efficiency.”


Consolidated revenue of $30.1 billion was up slightly year on year from $29.7 billion, with consumer wireline revenue rising from $3.16 billion to $3.24 billion. Fiber revenue specifically was up to $1.5 billion from $1.1 billion a year ago.