AT&T Inc. (T) - Get Report posted quarterly earnings that were largely in-line with analysts' forecasts Wednesday and confirmed its 2019 profit guidance, but added fewer-than-expected wireless customers over the final months of the year.
AT&T said earnings for the three months ending in December came in at 86 cents per share, matching the consensus Street forecast and rising 10.25% from the same period last year. Total group revenues were also notably higher, rising 14.7% to $48 billion, but fell just shy of analysts' forecasts of $48.5 billion.
AT&T also said it added 134,000 new subscribers to its wireless telephone network paying a monthly bill, missing the FactSet compiled consensus of 208,000.
"Our top priority for 2018 and 2019 is reducing our debt and I couldn't be more pleased with how we closed the year. In 2018, we generated record free cash flow while investing at near-record levels," said CEO Randall Stephenson. "Our dividend payout as a percent of free cash flow was 46% for the quarter and 60% for the year, allowing us to increase the dividend for the 35th consecutive year."
"This momentum will carry us into 2019 allowing us to continue reducing our debt while investing in the business and continuing our strong record for paying dividends," he added.
AT&T shares were down 3.8% to $29.53 on Wednesday.