Tough Year for Telecoms So Far & AT&T Has Interesting Times Ahead Without iPhone Exclusivity

All stock charts courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

It has been a tough 2009 so far for U.S. phone companies. You can see the year-to-date (YTD) charts for AT&T (blue), Verizon (green) and Deutsche Telekom AG (red – European owner of T-Mobile USA). I left Sprint out of this chart. But, we’ll get back to them. As you can see Deutsche Telekom stock price is down more that 20% so far this year. AT&T stock price is down about 11% and Verizon is down about 7%. No one them is having a good year. So, you can image that it probably pains AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to say…

AT&T chief: iPhone won’t be exclusive forever

AT&T has had an exclusive lock on the red-hot iPhone for a bit over 2 years now. And, despite that AT&T hasn’t turned that to their advantage if you just look at their stock share price. Apple, by the way, has had a volitile two years too although its stock price is currently in the positive territory over that period. However, Apple’s YTD performance has been a reasonably spectacular 80+% compared to AT&T’s -11% YTD performance.

OK, so why did I leave Sprint out of the chart above? It is because it would have made it difficult to compare the first three telecoms. Take a look below…


Sprint has had a spectacular YTD performance of 150+% so far. Of course, if you look at the 5 year performance for the same four telecoms, you also find that Sprint has to go up a lot more to make up for the 70+% in share price value it has lost in the past 5 years.