COVID-19 pandemic put the intersection of 5G and direct-to-consumer media in focus
During the virtual Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, AT&T CEO John Stankey provided a wide-ranging update on the company’s ambitions to continue its investments in fiber and 5G wireless networks (and grow its subscriber base) while also executing on its aggressive direct-to-consumer content strategy, something quite unique compared to its primary competitors.
Stankey said that AT&T is “not ceding share anymore” in its communications business but,
“There’s more to be done as we invest in fiber, and we can complement our wireless business with fiber. There’s opportunities for us to take communications further than what we’ve traditionally done at AT&T.”
AT&T’s CEO also touched on how the long-tail impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic changed “the dynamics of what was in front of us…both in the communications business, with the dawn of 5G and the importance of connectivity that was so prevalent during the pandemic that we all saw, the media business, moving from a direct-to-consumer business that initially as we kind of started in the media landscape thinking about a more domestic business to complement our connectivity that now is clearly becoming a global play and a need to make sure that we pursue that opportunity and not held those assets back…”
In terms of high-level view of 5G, Stankey predicted “record infrastructure investment” in the 2021-2022 timeframe and said he views the latest generation of cellular as “going to be great for society. I think this is going to be great for the U.S. economy as a whole…And I think it’s going to equip the United States and our economy and our infrastructure in a way that we’ve never seen. I think we’re going to be incredibly powerful. And I think it’s not only going to be good for AT&T because I think we have the right kind of wherewithal
and the right kind of capability [to]be right alongside others that are investing in a high clip to bring that infrastructure forward. I think we’ll do just fine with where we are there. I believe when unleashed, we have some of the best network mines in the country.”
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