AT&T CFO John Stephens (pictured) pinned the operator’s 5G hopes on enterprise, after revealing its consumer handset upgrade rate continued to slow in the first weeks of 2019.
Speaking at an investor conference, Stephens predicted enterprise customers will deliver the first significant spike in 5G revenue as businesses seek efficiencies offered by next generation use cases.
“We are convinced that business will lead in the innovation around 5G, whether it’s in automated factories, whether it’s in healthcare opportunities, whether it’s in a variety of IoT applications,” he said, adding the operator is engaged with its customer base to capitalise on those opportunities.
Though AT&T began rolling out its mobile 5G product to select consumer and business customers in December 2018, Stephens previously said the operator doesn’t expect the technology to generate material revenue in 2019.
AT&T’s focus on enterprise comes in the context of slowing handset upgrades in the consumer segment, which means it could take up to five years for all of the operator’s customers to transition to 5G phones.
Stephens said the sluggishness continued in the first two months of 2019, meaning equipment revenue for the period came in $100 million below the $2.4 billion AT&T earned in first two months of 2018.―Mobile World Live