NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I don't consider myself old, but I often find myself talking about the past in the same way that "boring older people" did when I was younger.
Take AT&T (T), for example.
I remember when "Ma Bell" was the only game in town. There were no cellphones. You had to pay more if you wanted touch-tone buttons instead of a rotary dial. Long distance wasn't included as part of any plan, and it was expensive.
But did you know AT&T company was recently awarded the top spot in J.D. Power customer satisfaction for 2013?For those who don't remember, try to imagine a customer service mix between the local Department of Motor Vehicles and Charter Communications (CHTR). After 30 years of adjusting to the realities of a competitive free market, Ma Bell reached the top of customer service. Investors and customers should anticipate the C-suite continuing to focus on the customer experience. T Free Cash Flow TTM data by YCharts
In the last 12 years, AT&T transitioned from a landline telco offering cellphone service into a cellphone provider offering U-verse. U-verse is a blended service of high-speed Internet and TV. Although I am unable to subscribe to U-verse at my home (I can get DSL.), most locations that are able to subscribe to U-verse are also able to select a similar competing offering from another such as Charter, Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Verizon Communications (VZ). Regardless of the competitive landscape, AT&T is executing well. Wireless revenue increased 5.7% last quarter compared to the same period last year. Wireless data revenue increased nearly 20%, and the previously mentioned U-Verse service reached a new mile-stone of 5 million active subscribers. AT&T's valuation is a little rich when examined through the rearview mirror, but if we look at estimated earnings, this wireless carrier becomes downright cheap. The forward price-to-earnings ratio is only 13.3, and the amount of debt in relation to cash flow, earnings, and cash on hand also makes AT&T attractive. Verizon and Sprint (S), the other two of the three biggest carriers, failed to encroach on AT&T's market share nearly as much as some predicted when Apple (AAPL) discontinued the exclusive deal with AT&T and started offering iPhones to others.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV