Telecom Stock Roundup: Solid Q4 For ATUS, TDS, USM, WIN And FTR, Mixed Bag For AMT

The telecom industry witnessed strong earnings performances by most of the key stocks last week. Altice USA Inc. ATUS, Telephone and Data Systems Inc. TDS, United States Cellular Corp. USM, Frontier Communications Corp. FTR and Windstream Holdings Inc. WIN delivered strong financial results in the fourth quarter of 2017, wherein both the top and bottom line outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Total customer relationships of Altice USA in fourth-quarter 2017 were 4.9603 million, including 4.535 million connections for the Residential segment and 0.3713 million connections for the SMB segment. In the Residential segment, the subscriber count was 3.4055 million for Pay TV, 4.0462 million for Broadband and 2.5574 million for Telephony business. Average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) in the reported quarter was $140.2, up 1.5% year over year.

At the end of fourth-quarter 2017, Telephone & Data Systems had 567,700 residential wireline connections compared with 585,400 in the year-ago quarter. The company exited the reported quarter with 310,100 commercial wireline connections, down 5.9% year over year. Total cable connections were 315,100, up 7.8% year over year.

United States Cellular exited the fourth quarter of 2017 with a subscriber base of 5,096,000 compared with 5,031,000 at the end of 2016. Postpaid subscriber base totaled 4,518,000 compared with 4,482,000 at the end of 2016. Prepaid subscriber base totaled 519,000, compared with 484,000 at the end of 2016.

As of Dec 31, 2017, Frontier Communications had 3,938,000 high-speed broadband subscribers, down 7.8% and 961,000 video customers, down 16.1% year over year. The number of consumer segment customers decreased 10.1% year over year to 4,397,000. Commercial segment customers decreased 9.8% year over year to 453,000. Frontier Communications currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

As of Dec 31, 2017, Windstream had 1.2688 million household customers, down 6% year over year. High-speed internet customer base was 1.0066 million, down 4% while the digital TV customer base was 0.2779 million, down 13%. ILEC small business customers totaled 0.1281 million, down 8%. Enterprise customers were 0.1335 million, down 1% year over year. CLEC consumer customers were 0.6621 million compared with a mere 0.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Meanwhile, American Tower Corp. AMT reported mixed results in the fourth quarter of 2017, wherein the top line outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but the bottom line lagged the same. The company competes with some major wireless tower operators like Crown Castle International Corp. CCI and SBA Communications Corp. SBAC in the global wireless tower market.

Read the last Telecom Stock Roundup for Feb 22, 2018.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories  

1.  On a GAAP basis, net income of Altice USA in the fourth quarter was $2,235.8 million or $3.06 per share against a net loss of $236.7 million or a loss of 36 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. However, it reported adjusted earnings per share of break-even, better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of a penny per share.

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