As Expected, AT&T Expects "Scope" to Replace "Scale"

AT&T’s third quarter 2012 revenue was up by 6.6 percent year over year. Some might call that a modest growth. Others might call it an essentially "flat" performance. What is clear is that there were continued significant changes in the revenue contributors. 

AT&T considers mobile services, fixed network data and business services, particularly managed information technology services, its growth drivers, for good reason.

Mobility, fixed network data and business managed services represented 81 percent
of total AT&T revenues and grew 6.4 percent versus the same quarter a year ago.

Mobile services represented 53 percent of total revenues, up two percent, year over year. Fixed network data services, including both consumer and business managed services, represented 28 percent, up one percent, year over year.

Fixed network voice (and all other miscellaneous revenue) generated 19 percent of total AT&T revenues, down from 22 percent, year over year.

Some might say those changes illustrate a common problem in saturated markets. Early on, the game in a new market is "scale," the getting of more customers. When a market is mature, the game shifts. When it is hard to get a new customer, the emphasis shifts to "scope," selling more products to the existing base of customers. 

In changing markets, the emphasis likewise shifts from selling legacy products to selling new products. AT&T is seeing both trends: scope instead of scale and product substitution. 

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