The wireline bright spots in AT&T's fourth-quarter
earnings were not in the telephone business, according to Bernstein Research.
In an advisory to clients, senior analyst Craig Moffet
said that those bright spots were in broadband and its U-verse video service.
According to its most recent financials, AT&T added
210,000 broadband subs, almost doubling a projected 110,000 pickups for
the quarter. U-verse subs were up 246,000, slightly above a projected 237,000.
By contrast, average revenue per unit for voice was down a
"breathtaking" 8.7%, with access line losses down 11.5% thanks to phone
AT&T execs on a conference call with reporters Thursday
about Universal Service Fund reform talked about the migration from
traditional land-line phone service to cell phones, VOiP, e-mail and social
networks and how that has turned the current subsidy system based on
traditional voice into a "house of cards" that is ready to crumble.