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AT&T to report $1B pre-tax loss in Q4'16

AT&T Inc. expects to report a noncash, pre-tax loss of about $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, related to the annual remeasurement of pension and postemployment benefit plans.

AT&T said in a Jan. 20 SEC filing that on Dec. 31, 2016, the company decreased its assumed discount rates used to measure its pension obligation to 4.4% from 4.6%, and to 4.3% from 4.5% for postretirement obligation generating a loss of about $3.0 billion. The company said the loss was substantially offset by gains related to better-than-assumed claims experience, asset returns that were slightly higher than expected, demographic changes and mortality, and other assumption changes.

AT&T said the loss will not affect segment operating results or margins and will be included as an adjusting item in fourth-quarter results.

Moreover, the carrier expects to report more than 900,000 branded net adds of domestic wireless subscribers, with branded phone net adds of more than 330,000, the company said in an SEC filing.

The quarterly results also include about 700,000 of 2G deactivations, about 50,000 of which were postpaid. At Dec. 31, 2016, AT&T had about 2.3 million remaining total 2G subscribers and non-voice phone connections, of which about 100,000 were postpaid. AT&T said Jan. 16 that it will discontinue its service on all of its 2G cell sites to use the spectrum for more advanced technologies, including the 5G network.

The company also expects to record more than 1.2 million wireless net adds in Mexico, and more than 200,000 video net adds, driven by DIRECTV Now.