AT&T's Stephenson "optimistic" about Trump

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

The AT&T CEO met the new US president earlier this month, and said he was "optimistic" around tax, investment and regulation

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he was optimistic about the future of tax and investment in the US after meeting President Donald Trump earlier this month.

Stephenson claimed he did not discuss the telco giant’s proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, something Trump said he opposed during the presidential campaign, but said the President had expressed a “specific agenda” for tax and regulatory reform.

"I was meeting with a CEO. It was obvious," Stephenson said on a conference call to discuss AT&T's fourth quarter earnings. 

"I would tell you that the man, the president, is focused on these. I left with a degree of optimism that this could actually be pulled off this year."

Stephenson was speaking as AT&T posted a slight dip in revenue, from $42.1 billion in Q4 2015 to $41.8 billion. Net income fell from $4.01 billion to $2.44 billion.

The CEO also expressed optimism about Trump’s selection of Ajit Pai as the new chair of regulator the Federal Communications Commission.

Trump appointed Pai, a critic of the regulator’s stance on net neutrality, earlier this week, replacing Obama-appointee Tom Wheeler, who stepped down.

AT&T has been locked in a legal dispute with the FCC over its net neutrality rules, launched in February 2015, and has fallen foul of the regulations on a number of occasions. Earlier this month, the regulator accused AT&T’s DirecTV package of violating zero rating rules.

Stephenson added: “We're optimistic about what a Chairman Pai would bring to the industry. You should expect to see us go hard. We are having some really good success in the marketplace with it].”