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AT&T's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Let me remind you, our earnings material is available on the Investor Relations page of the AT&T website at I also need to cover our Safe Harbor statement, which is on Slide 3. This presentation and comments may contain forward-looking statements. They're subject to risks. Results may differ materially. Details are on our SEC filings and on AT&T's website.

Before I turn the call over to John, let me quickly call your attention to Slide 4, which provides a financial summary. EPS for the quarter was $0.60, a 5.3% increase over last year's first quarter EPS. Consolidated revenues were up once again, thanks to strong revenue growth in wireless, gains in U-verse services and continued improving trends in wireline business. Margins were up, both in consolidated and wireless, even with continued smartphone sales. And cash flow continues to be solid. Cash from operating activities for the quarter totaled $7.8 billion and free cash flow of $3.5 billion. We also began our share repurchase program in the first quarter. John will go into more detail. But for the quarter, we bought back more than $2 billion in shares. And with that overview, I'll now turn the call over to AT&T's Chief Financial Officer, John Stephens. John?

John Joseph Stephens

Thank you, Susan, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for being with us today. During our last earnings call, our Chairman, Randall Stephenson, laid out a few strategic focus areas for 2012. I would like to start this morning by giving you an update on what we've done so far. The highlights are on Slide 5.

First, we had a terrific start to the year. In January, we talked about our ability to execute and grow the business and laid out clear objectives for the year. At the end of the first quarter, we remain confident in our business operations and our ability to achieve guidance in every area. Second, we told you that we will begin buying back shares as part of our 300 million share authorization. We've done just that and we have done so aggressively, buying back more than 67 million shares in the first quarter. Third, we remain focused on improving our overall growth profile by looking at opportunities to divest or restructure low-performing and nonstrategic assets. You saw us take a step in this direction with the announced sale of Advertising Solutions to Cerberus Capital Management. We expect that transaction to close in mid-year. And we continue to look for other ways to improve the growth profile of our business. And fourth, we also spoke of the importance of spectrum, not just to us but to the entire wireless industry. We've taken action by acquiring additional spectrum through smaller transactions. 10 separate transactions closed in the first quarter alone and we have 4 more deals currently in process at the FCC. We also continue to maximize our network capacity and quality with existing spectrum through network management and tiered data pricing. Our LTE rollout is growing strong. So as you can see, we are off to a very strong start in executing the plans we have laid out. And we remain confident in our ability to execute and grow the business.

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