Innovation is an American tradition, and few modern companies are as directly tied to that spirit as AT&T (T), the multinational holding company that can trace its roots back to the Bell Telephone Company, founded by telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell in 1877. Today it is the world’s largest telecommunications company, the largest mobile services provider and the largest network operator in the U.S. 

AT&T currently operates DirecTV, AT&T Mexico and a long list of other subsidiaries including Ameritech, BellSouth, Pacific Telesis and SBC Communications. It is also the parent company of mass media conglomerate WarnerMedia.

AT&T reported $170 billion in revenue in 2018. For the second quarter of 2019, it generated $35 billion from its communications business, accounting for roughly 80% of revenue. The company employs more than 250,000 and operates worldwide, including voice service in 225 countries and data service in 210 countries.

Rationale

The most direct way to gain exposure to AT&T is to buy its listed shares. But investors have good reason to reconsider that approach given AT&T’s long-term growth prospects and its current price. Much of T’s revenue is driven by landline service, which is dying out around the world. Although it is expanding into mobile communications service and other offerings, it is still tied to a fading technology. 

However, for investors interested in gaining exposure to the communications sector, rather than buying T shares themselves should consider buying funds that provide exposure to AT&T and other similar firms. After all, the return drivers that will benefit T might also benefit other similar firms in communications that are better diversified. As investment management is gradually moving to the construction of portfolios using ETFs and mutual funds in addition to single stocks, investors would do well to consider gain exposure to firms like T through these types of funds.

Investing in T

A search on Magnifi suggests that investors can gain access to AT&T via a number of different funds and ETFs, including those shown below.  

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