October 28, 2014 — Greater than expected LTE build out progress will allow AT&T to reduce capital expenditures in the fourth quarter and still hit its target for network growth for the year, officials said during the carrier’s third quarter earnings call.
“If you are wondering how that can be accomplished, look at what the deployment team has accomplished. We are ahead the game and that gives us the opportunity to manage capital and still hit our targets,” said John Stephens, senior vice president of investor relations.
During the third quarter, AT&T completed its LTE build out, covering more than 300 million people, four months ahead of schedule. The carrier has also passed 600,000 businesses with fiber and passed 57 million customers with IP broadband.
AT&T has spent $17 billion in capital expenditures for the year and it reported $5.2 billion in capex for the third quarter. The carrier is still committed to capex in the range of $21 billion on the year, which implies $4 billion in capex in the fourth quarter, according to Stephens.
“That gives us some room in the range of $20.5 billion to $21.5 billion. We expect to further step down to capital spending in the fourth quarter that was planned,” Stephens said. “It’s a benefit of being ahead of the game on some of the build.”
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J. Sharpe Smith is the editor of AGL Link and Small Cell Link.