One takeaway from AT&T’s fourth quarter 2017 results is the importance of video entertainment, compared to internet access and voice as revenue drivers in the consumer segment of the fixed network business. Consider the wide gulf between U.S. video entertainment, internet access and other revenues: video drove 74 percent of fixed network consumer revenues.
Internet access represented just 15 percent of total, while the “other” category generated about 12 percent of total revenues.
One way of describing those results is to note that internet access is a “dumb pipe” service. Both voice and video entertainment are “apps.” So AT&T, in its fourth quarter, generated 85 percent of its consumer fixed network revenues from “apps” and only 15 percent from dumb pipe internet access.
That, in turn, illustrates why AT&T will look to applications, services and maybe platforms as it grows its internet of things and 5G businesses. Ignoring profit margin for the moment, apps and services are where the money is.