A $6.7 billion quarterly loss has been posted by AT&T Inc because of a hefty break-up fee for its failed T-Mobile USA merger and other charges on top of costly subsidies for smartphones such as Apple Inc's popular iPhone.
The shares of AT&T fell about 1 percent after the news even though the No. 2 U.S. wireless provider beat expectations of analysts for subscriber additions. The company also took a big non-cash pension-related charge on top of its $4 billion break-up package and its wireless service margins plummeted.
AT&T's wireless service margin based on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization dropped to 28.7 percent from 43.7 percent in the third quarter and 37.6 percent a year earlier.
"If there's any reason to be upset, it certainly is the margins," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris King.
The U.S. mobile provider said it had added 717,000 subscribers in the quarter, beating the average expectation for 570,000 from seven analysts. The company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $6.68 billion, or $1.12 per share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $1.09 billion, or 18 cents per share.