AT&T First Look: Worse Than I Had Anticipated

My cautious tone toward AT&T (T) ahead of 3Q17 earnings has been justified.

This Tuesday, the U.S.-based telecom giant posted its first all-around miss since 3Q14. Revenues of $ 39.7 billion landed -3% below year-ago levels, failing to reach consensus estimate of $ 40.1 billion as business and consumer mobility came in softer than I anticipated. Entertainment did not perform well either, but much of the weakness on this side of the business had already been pre-announced and shouldn’t have caught investors by surprise.

Credit: 9to5Mac

On mobility, AT&T’s key op metrics did not look particularly strong this quarter (see graph series below). Consumer postpaid net adds experienced a minor sequential dip to 102,000, while Business Solutions saw the same performance indicator head closer to zero, much lower than year-ago levels. On postpaid churn, consumer’s and business solutions’ ticked up to 1.17% and 1.01%, respectively — not very encouraging, but consistent with recent cyclical patterns. Even the faster-growing international segment could not celebrate much more than 129,000 net new postpaid accounts in the quarter. However, the much lower-margin prepaid business in Mexico experienced yet another quarter of over half a million net additions, surpassing the 8 million active account mark for the first time ever.

Further down the P&L, the YOY dip in gross margin that I had anticipated in my earnings preview materialized. The rate decreased by -137 bps to 52.4%, resulting in an estimated six-cent headwind to EPS on a YOY basis (see table below). As I had previously indicated, I expect gross margin to remain under pressure as the Big Four carriers in the U.S. continue to fight a fierce competitive war that, so far, has seen in the market’s underdog the only clear winner. On the entertainment side, a fast mix shift away from higher-priced legacy services (DirecTV and U-verse) will likely contribute further to the margin drag.

Not surprisingly, AT&T managed to keep opex under control, which helped to contribute ten cents to YOY EPS growth, per my estimates. Lower operating costs, in fact, fully countered gross margin deterioration, and non-GAAP op margin remained flat YOY. Further EPS upside showed up below the op profit line, which I believe is unlikely to excite analysts and investors or make them more confident about AT&T’s prospects.

On the AT&T stock

Given the results of the quarter (particularly the unexciting metrics and financial results on the mobility side), I think T will be subject to further short-term weakness in stock price. If I am correct, however, I believe depressed valuations could open up an opportunity for the long-term investor to accumulate shares at an incredible projected dividend yield of 5.8% (I am assuming the company declares a dividend increase of one penny in December 2017). With FCF improving YOY due to lower capex and tight working capital management, I continue to see the dividend payments well protected.

I have little confidence that T might see share price uplift in the near term. But despite the known challenges, I continue to find an investment in the stock a rare opportunity, particularly for investors with a long-term view and/or in search of rich, periodic cash payments.

Note from the author: If you have enjoyed this article and would like to receive real-time alerts on future ones, please follow D.M. Martins Research. To do so, scroll up to the top of this screen and click on the orange “Follow” button next to the header, making sure that the “Get email alerts” box remains checked. Thanks for reading.

Disclosure: I am/we are long T.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Tech

Meizu Pro 5 is the first Ubuntu phone that’s also a desktop PC

The Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone features a Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 5.7 inch full HD AMOLED display. When it launched earlier this year, it was the most powerful smartphone to ship with Ubuntu’s smartphone-friendly operating system to date.
Now it’s also the first Ubuntu phone that you can also use as a desktop computer.
Canonical has released a software update called OTA-11 for Ubuntu phones and tablets. One of the key features is support for connecting an external display using the Miracast wireless display protocol.
Ubuntu for phones and tablets supports a feature called “convergence” which lets you interact with a desktop-style user interface when you’re using a keyboard, mouse, and external display. Now that the mobile version of Ubuntu supports wireless displays though, you don’t need a video port anymore. Just use a Miracast wireless display dongle to connect the phone to a monitor, connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you’re good to go.

Source: http://liliputing.com/2016/06/meizu-pro-5-first-ubuntu-phone-thats-also-desktop-pc-thanks-ota-11-update.html
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht


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DEZZIO, The World’s First Functional Beach Bag, Blasts Past its Goal…

DEZZIO – A smart sand-proof beach bag becomes the most funded beach bag on Kickstarter. Its 10 unique features including a sand-discharge mesh, beach towel holder, cooler pocket, built-in USB ports,…

(PRWeb April 26, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13370445.htm


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5 tips for running your first influencer marketing campaign

Thurs

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This article is part of SWOT Team, a series on Mashable that features insights from leaders in marketing, brand-building and public relations.

The rise of social media has given consumers more power than ever before, arming them with a platform where they can engage brands in real time. This has created a shift in marketing. While traditional tactics involved pushing out brand content with little focus on creating conversations, new campaigns tap influencers to engage with consumers and create brand loyalty among them.

In spite of the positives, the rise of influencer marketing has also led to many questions, like how to select the right influencer agency or measure ROI. Here are the five most important things to know before you begin your first influencer campaign Read more…

More about Influencers, Branded Content, Business, Marketing, and How To


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Wileyfox is Europe’s newest mobile brand — here’s how its first smartphone stacks up

Wileyfox Swift

Fledgling European mobile phone brand Wileyfox announced its arrival in the smartphone realm a month ago, and now the London-based company is preparing to launch its first ever product: The Wileyfox Swift.

Initially slated for launch this week, Wileyfox revealed that shipping for the $ 200 Android device has been delayed until September 30. But while you wait, VentureBeat has grabbed some serious hands-on time with the phone, and here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Vital stats

Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

Above: Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

The Wileyfox Swift is powered by Cyanogen OS, the commercial, customizable Android-based operating system from Cyanogen Inc. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, 5″ Gorilla Glass screen (1,280 x 720 pixels), 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB). It also supports 4G, has two SIM card slots, and it will set you back €179 EUR (£129 GBP / $ 205 USD).

As a slight aside, launching a month after the Swift is the souped-up €279 (£199 GBP / $ 315 USD) Wileyfox Storm, which offers a 5.5″ full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, a whopping 20MP rear-facing camera, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB).

From VentureBeat

Location, location, location — Not using geolocation to reach your mobile customers? Your competitors are. Find out what you’re missing.

Available for preorder now through the Wileyfox website, as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Expansys, and E-buyer, the Swift is pitched squarely at the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market, with localized call center support, a replacement screen service, and an extended three-year warranty offered for the equivalent of around $ 15 for each service.

That said, the phone can be purchased in other territories, including the U.S., but Wileyfox said the “experience will not be full” elsewhere. For example, in the U.S., data streaming would be limited because the phone uses CDMA — voice and SMS should be fine on the Swift, as would Wi-Fi, but 4G / LTE would suffer. And there won’t be dedicated phone support outside EMEA, either.

Look and feel

Perhaps the most immediately striking facet of the Wileyfox Swift is its looks — it doesn’t resemble a cheap phone, despite what its price would have you believe. The rough-ish, sandstone black rear, embossed logo, and colored brand marking gives it a premium feel.

Wileyfox: Back

Above: Wileyfox Swift (Right): Back

The front side sports a clear screen with no physical buttons, and down the right edge you’ll find the volume control and power button. On the bottom edge is the micro-USB port and two speakers.

Wileyfox Front

Above: Wileyfox Front

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The Wileyfox Swift is noticeably light in the hand — at 135 grams, it’s 30 percent lighter than my OnePlus 2, though it is also around 0.5″ smaller. While this is good, it does make it feel a little bit cheaper to me — but that’s probably just because I’m used to a heftier handset.

Indeed, many people will like its deftness, and looking at other premium phones on the market, the Swift isn’t actually too light — the marginally larger Samsung Galaxy S6 weighs only 3 grams more, while the slightly smaller iPhone 6 comes in at 129 grams. In other words, the Swift is about the right weight for its size; it’s really just down to what you’re already accustomed to.

Under the hood

With Cyanogen OS on board, Wileyfox brings some useful features to the mainstream market. Cyanogen is already supported by many handsets, but in the West not many actually ship with the OS preinstalled.

Highlights include being able to lock some apps in protected folders on the home screen. Tap on a folder, hit the little padlock icon, enter a code, and voila.

Folder Protection

Above: Folder protection

Other neat little touches include Privacy Guard, which gives users easy access to control what data is shared with which apps. And with Truecaller built in, the Swift can block spam calls and texts from specific numbers — a giant smack in the face to robocallers everywhere.

Truecaller and App Privacy

Above: Truecaller and App Privacy

General performance

One of the downsides of Cyanogen OS is that it is prone to bugs, and at times it’s not the most responsive to touch. For example, occasionally I would attempt to swipe down from the top to access notifications and settings, and literally nothing would happen. This was similar to what I experienced with the OnePlus One, which ran Cyanogenmod 12.

That said, it’s not prevalent enough for it to be a deal-breaker — it just gets a little frustrating at times for those 5 seconds or so I’m desperately trying to swipe the screen.

In terms of juice, the Wileyfox Swift packs a removable (yay!) 2500mAh battery that promises stand-by time of up to 200 hours and talk time of up to 10 hours (2G) or 8 hours (3G).

Of course, nobody really uses their smartphones for calling anymore — they use them for tweeting, WhatsApp-ing, Google Maps-ing, YouTube-ing, and Spotify-ing. I didn’t stress-test the battery; I used it as I would any phone throughout a day (Google Maps, Twitter, BBC News app, and very little media streaming), and it lasted from when I awoke to when I went to bed, at which point there was around 10 percent battery remaining.

Elsewhere, the 13MP camera works pretty well for daylight shots, but I found it lacked somewhat in clarity for low-lighting situations. But at $ 200, this was never promising the best lens on the market. The on-board dual speakers were actually pretty darn good for casual listening at this price point, though you would of course want to use a Bluetooth speaker if you’re hosting a party.

The cherry on the cake, for me, is the display. It may not be full HD, but I found the screen to be clear and crisp. Again, this isn’t going to be for perfectionists who love watching movies on their phone with all the trimmings, but for the price it’s definitely very good.

Wileyfox Display

Above: Wileyfox display

Dual-SIM

This feature gets a special mention. dual-SIM phones are popular in many developing markets, but they’ve never really become much of a “thing” in the West. There’s no real reason why dual-SIM devices shouldn’t be popular in Europe or the U.S. — it was one of the reasons why I upgraded my personal phone to the OnePlus 2.

The use cases for dual-SIM are numerous. You can have one number for all your friends and family, and one for companies that may be inclined to call at inappropriate times. The second SIM slot can basically be your spam line, just like that Yahoo email account you keep for special occasions. You could have one domestic SIM and one business SIM, if you travel abroad often. Or you could have two domestic SIMs — one for calls and SMS, the other for Internet — if you find separate good deals from two companies.

And if you have absolutely no need for two SIMs, you don’t have to use that second slot.

Verdict

In our original assessment, we stated that Wileyfox wants to be the OnePlus of Europe. While the basic sentiment of that still rings true, it doesn’t really tell the whole picture — OnePlus sells premium phones at a knockdown price. The Wileyfox Swift is a decent mid-range device — and excellent value for the money — but it’s definitely not a premium phone.

The Wileyfox Swift should be well received when it finally goes to market. However, it sits in an awkward position for me. The customization options are excellent, but it feels a little like the handset is aimed at a more tech-savvy market, where fine-tuning privacy options are important. It’s a market, perhaps, that would be more inclined to shell out for a proper high-end phone.

That said, the Wileyfox Swift could find a sizable niche in the gift-giving fraternity. It’s the perfect price for someone to buy a family member / significant other for their birthday or Christmas. You probably wouldn’t buy a $ 600 iPhone for your dad, but you’d maybe drop a couple hundred bucks on a Swift.


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Do you agree with the statement that the Web was the first Cloud Computing Platform?

Question by bleuflamenco: Do you agree with the statement that the Web was the first Cloud Computing Platform?
Or am I missing something? As I see it, web sites were the first distributed, scalable, highly customizable platform on the internet. Email and stuff like IRC and FTP were huge, but they aren’t really platforms upon which more complex systems were built like the Web is.
Dr. Dave, I agree, but that’s not what I was asking.

Best answer:

Answer by DrDave
Of course not. Cloud is the next step in taking control of what users do. You’ll be charged for every thing. You will no longer have your own personal software. You’ll pay to use applications every time you use them. Big Brother is just around the corner.
Edit: What part of “Of course not” don’t you understand?

Give your answer to this question below!