With new leadership team in place, AT&T embarks on new, more localized marketing strategy

BARCELONA, Spain--AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) is working to change its approach to marketing by giving its regional managers more flexibility in tailoring the company's messages to specific demographics, said AT&T's new wireless chief, Glenn Lurie.

"We've gone back to a local model," Lurie explained here on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress trade show. "We are going to give our local leaders more tools."

Lurie explained that AT&T breaks the United States into four main regions divided among 22 general managers (GMs). Previously, AT&T's marketing messages were issued in a largely uniform way across the country, but now under the new approach those GMs will have more flexibility to customize AT&T's marketing messages and offerings for their respective local markets.

For example, Lurie said that the GM for Florida will be able to advertise the carrier's new Rollover Data offering in Cuban Spanish to residents there, while the GM for Arizona will be able to advertise the offering in Mexican Spanish. Lurie said GMs also will have more leeway in using social media and in crafting new promotions.

"You'll see us being aggressive," Lurie said. "You're going to see us being more personal."

Lurie noted he relied on a similar approach during his stint as an AT&T GM in Arizona, California and elsewhere more than a dozen years ago.

The new approach stems from AT&T's refreshed front office. In August, AT&T promoted Lurie to president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. Lurie was previously the president of AT&T Mobility's Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships business. The company also merged its Mobility and Business Solutions divisions under Ralph de la Vega, who was previously AT&T Mobility's CEO. De la Vega is now CEO of AT&T's Mobile & Business Solutions Group.

Since the change, AT&T has launched a handful of new offerings, including less expensive international calling options for postpaid and prepaid customers, and its Rollover Data plan, which allows the carrier's Mobile Share Value customers to retain any used data in their monthly data allotment and apply it toward their next month's allocation.

AT&T Mobility beat analysts' expectations in terms of subscriber growth for the fourth quarter, but saw churn rise amid intensifying competition. AT&T also saw its margins drop in the quarter, as had been expected. Despite the tough competitive environment, AT&T notched 1.9 million total net wireless subscriber additions in the quarter, including postpaid net adds of 854,000. Those figures easily surpassed what AT&T did in the year-ago period. In the fourth quarter of 2013, AT&T reported 809,000 total net wireless customer additions, including postpaid net adds of 566,000.

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