AT&T makes ~$20B/year, has $49B in cash, and claims $444B in assets. Few believe CEO Randall Stephenson's sworn statement it faces an "existential crisis." (NY Times) I know it's a genuine fear because I've heard similar from others at the top of AT&T. One friend wrote me, "I certainly hope the TW deal goes through. ... Our world is changing and companies have to change as well."
AT&T, despite what the Times thinks, is not going to go out of existence. But profits certainly could fall from $20B to much less, clobbering the stock price
In 2016, Randall himself said that without enormous changes, "In three years we’ll be managing decline." AT&T is working on ~70,000 job cuts, the largest cutback anywhere in the world since Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
I'm certain AT&T will be around in a decade and still an enormous company, despite Randall's doubt. But Randall, John Stankey, & John Donovan are running very, very scared. This is not just D.C. bluster put on to impress the judge.
Telecom is a (slightly) declining business. Randall thinks Google and Facebook will take T's profits unless he remakes the company in their image.