AT&T’s Grim Future

AT&T’s CEO John Stankey says his company is best off out of the media business. From the standpoint of its choppy contribution to earnings and its debt load, he is right. However, that leaves AT&T to rely on the highly competitive broadband business. It is among the most competitive sectors in the United States, and AT&T has yet to prove it can be on the winning side.

AT&T’s shares are off 20% in the past year. By contrast, the shares of Verizon are off 7%. AT&T probably suffers from the belief that its management is among the worst among America’s large companies, which is another reason for pessimism.

The wireless broadband business is brutal. The introduction of 5G has caused a rush to add and retain customers. AT&T faces not just Verizon. Rival T-Mobile’s shares have risen 3% in the past year, which is a sign that investors believe it is in the best shape among the three competitors.

Among stock analysts, AT&T’s median share price forecast over the next year is $28. At just over $24 apiece on last look, its shares are forecast to barely budge. That means even professional investors look at AT&T’s future as grim.

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