Time To Just Collect Your AT&T Inc. Dividends

Over the weekend I examined the prospects of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), and now I want to look at the other U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T (NYSE:T).

The telecommunications or "telco" industry has long been a safe haven for investors due to its stable and slow, but consistent annual growth. The typically high current yields have earned these companies the nicknames of being "widows and orphans" stocks.

AT&T has a 32-year dividend growth streak, earning it the title of Dividend Champion. Annual growth has stalled since 2008, inching forward by just 2% annually. Unfortunately, as we'll examine later, that is likely to continue due to large capital expenditures and high debt load.

Since initiating a position in AT&T in 2011 and adding more in early 2015, I've been more than pleased with the results. I've since received over 11.7% of my investment back in cold hard cash and generated over a 15% rate of return. Even better is the 11% cumulative organic dividend growth from my first shares which, according to USInflationCalculator, has more than doubled the cumulative 5.4% inflation over the same time period.

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