AT&T CEO John Stankey told CNBC on Friday the company can maintain its dividend payment while still investing in growth businesses like direct-to-consumer streaming service HBO Max.

Stankey made in the comments on "Squawk on the Street" in response to a question from CNBC's David Faber, who asked the CEO if money AT&T used to pay the dividend would be better spent accelerating its digital transformation.

That's a binary choice AT&T does not have to make right now, Stankey responded.

"I feel very comfortable when we're down at 50, low 50s, mid 50 payout ratios on the dividend, that we can sustain that right now and not have to walk away from the opportunity to keep this a strong and sustainable business," said Stankey, appearing on CNBC as AT&T's host its Analyst and Investor Day.

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