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$T said it would expect to continue grow video customers with its DIRECTV NOW outpacing its linear customer counts in the sense of net additions. But in kind of total video customer base, the company does believe it has the opportunity to continue to grow just like it did in 4Q17.
$T will increase 2018 capital investments by $1Bil with tax reform. Even with that, $T expects significant free cash flow growth in 2018 and going forward with dividend payout ratio improving into high 50% range this year. And $T is committed to deleveraging after $TWX closes with plans to return to historic levels by end of 2020, if not before.
$T added nearly 600,000 IP broadband customers during 2017. Broadband penetration rate in the company's fiber footprint, where it has marketed fiber service more than 24 months, are nearing 50%. Last year alone, the company doubled the number of IP broadband subscribers in its fiber footprint.
At the end of 4Q17, $T had 51.1MM Consumer Mobility subscribers. In the quarter, Consumer Mobility lost 108,000 total subscribers with 320,000 postpaid, and 140,000 prepaid net adds offsetting a loss of 533,000 reseller and 35,000 connected device subscribers. Consumer Mobility postpaid churn was 1.18%, down from 1.25% last year.
At the end of 4Q17, $T had more than 90MM business wireless subscribers. Business Solutions added 221,000 postpaid subscribers and added 2.6MM connected devices in 4Q. Postpaid business wireless subscriber churn declined to 1.08% from 1.11% last year. Also, $T added 7,000 high-speed IP broadband business subscribers.
For 2018, $T expects adjusted EPS in the $3.50 range and free cash flow of about $21Bil. The company sees capital expenditures approaching $25Bil, including $23Bil net of expected FirstNet reimbursements and inclusive of $1Bil incremental tax reform investment.
$T reported a jump in 4Q17 earnings reflecting the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Net income soared to $19Bil or $3.08 per share from $2.4Bil or $0.39 per share in 4Q16. Revenue slid 0.4% to $41.7Bil on declines in legacy wireline services, wireless service revenues and domestic video. Adjusted EPS increased to $0.78 from $0.66.
The second largest US wireless carrier $T reported a net increase in total wireless subscribers of 2.7MM to reach 141.6MM in service in 4Q17. The company had a net gain of 541,000 postpaid subscribers and added 140,000 prepaid subscribers, including 85,000 prepaid phone subscribers. It had 681,000 branded net adds in the quarter.
The largest pay TV operator $T gained 161,000 linear video subscribers for the 4Q17 as DirecTV Now subscribers more than offset traditional video declines. The company ended the quarter with 25.2MM total video subscribers, down 1.2% from last year.
Verizon added 1.2MM retail postpaid net additions (647K postpaid adds) in fourth quarter. Earnings came in at $4.56, which includes tax reforms related benefits. Excluding special items, adj. EPS was $0.86, same as 4Q16. $VZ plans to spend $17-17.8Bil in 2018, including the planned 5G launch. It also expects tax reforms to bring $3.5-4Bil in 2018.
$CBT elected Cynthia Arnold to its BoD, effective Jan. 18, 2018. She was also appointed a member of the Compensation Committee. $CBT elected Sue Rataj as Non-Executive Chair of the Board of Directors, effective March 9, 2018. $CBT said Roderick MacLeod will retire from the Board, effective at annual meeting that will be held on March 8, 2018.
$ADTN, a provider of networking equipment, slipped to a net loss in 4Q17, hurt by tax-related charges and a 22% drop in sales due to business slowdown in some key markets. The net loss was $11.2MM or $0.23 per share, compared to profit of $7.56MM or $0.16 per share recorded in 4Q16. On a non-GAAP basis, ADTRAN posted earnings of $0.05 per share.
$AYI said it has been relatively acquisitive over its last 7 or 8 years and sees that is still a fundamental part of a way to deploy this excess cash flow. With regard to stock buyback, the company did buy back 2MM shares last year and $AYI has the authorization from the Board for another 2MM shares.