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AT&T chief says the carrier may raise cell phone plan prices and cut some landlines

After unsuccessfully trying to merge the wireless carrier corporate culture with the creativity of the movie and TV business, AT&T gave up and effectively spun off its media empire by letting its fairly recent Warner Media acquisition merge with Discovery, and then selling them as a new listed Warner Bros. Discovery entity.

Now, says Chief Executive Officer John Stankey, AT&T can focus on its core carrier business by restructuring, trimming costs, and streamlining operations, reports the WSJ. First off, it will be using the $39 billion from the sale of its media empire to reduce its debt ratio while aiming to keep the $120 billion of annual revenue the carrier generates.

Both these businesses were going to require investment, and they were going to require probably a different shareholder base to tolerate. We’ve now managed to clean that capital structure up to enable that to happen... It’s a different company now. We don’t really need to run a superstructure corporate holding company and will continue to rationalize that.

A new way AT&T will try to trim costs includes replacing old copper lines with fiber optic cable where feasible, or simply ditching landline support altogether where fiber can't be laid. Faced with inflation in the price of everything from router components to employee wages, however, AT&T will also have to raise more revenue form its core business now that its media wing is spun off.

AT&T's CEO John Stankey advised that the carrier might raise its plan prices in the next few quarters as they have barely budged, according to him, while everything else is going up. We wouldn't call the $85 that AT&T charges for a single Unlimited 5G plan line exactly cheap, but that's what carriers are now charging, and those charges may soon start going up.

"You’ll probably start to see it over the next several quarters, " he foretold with confidence that AT&T's subscribers will be able to absorb higher cell phone bills as business analysts have showed that the phone and its Internet connection have become so indispensable to people, that they'd rather part with other household expenses than connectivity on the go.

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