Pandemic Impacts AT&T Financials, but FirstNet Momentum Remains Strong, Execs Say
Friday, July 24, 2020 | Comments

During a second-quarter earnings call July 23, AT&T executives said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some aspects of the business but said First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) momentum remains strong.

“We’re planning and operating under the assumption that significant accommodations for COVID will be the business norm well into next year,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.

Total revenues for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 were $41 billion versus $45 billion in the same quarter last year. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $10.8 billion in 2020, down from $14.6 billion in 2020. Stankey and AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens attributed much of the decrease to losses caused to the company’s entertainment arm by movie and TV show delays.

While the two men only touched on FirstNet very briefly, Stephens noted that the network’s buildout has continued on a strong path and continues to help drive the company’s 5G build out.

“The FirstNet buildout continues to run ahead of plan,” Stephens said. “We expect additional network benefits as our 5G build is expected to reach nationwide coverage today. The network and the entire FirstNet team has done a great job in building out our 5G network.”

Neither executive discussed what level of completion the FirstNet build is at.

The carrier’s quarterly documents note that FirstNet now has 1.5 million connections across more than 13,000 agencies. Additionally, the financial documents indicate that AT&T received $72 million in reimbursements from the FirstNet Authority in the second quarter, and $79 million in FirstNet reimbursements for the first six months of 2020. A footnote in AT&T’s earnings release indicates that the company expects total FirstNet reimbursements for 2020 to be about $1 billion.

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