AT&T Earnings Solid Due to Wireless Growth


Top US phone company AT&T reported a rise in quarterly profit led by strong growth in its wireless business, although traditional phone subscriptions fell.

AT&T Communications corporate offices at 175 East Houston St. in San Antonio.
Toby Jorrin

AT&T's first-quarter profit rose to $3.46 billion, or 57 cents per share, from $2.85 billion, or 45 cents a share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Profit before items, such as merger-related costs and severance charges for recently announced job cuts, totaled 74 cents, matching the average Wall Street estimate as compiled by Reuters Estimates.

AT&T , the exclusive U.S. carrier for Apple's iPhone, said it added 1.3 million net wireless subscribers in the quarter, in line with an average estimate of 1.32 million according to seven analysts polled by Reuters.

Quarterly revenue rose 6.1 percent to $30.7 billion, compared with the Reuters estimate of $30.6 billion.

The company has been banking on mobile phones for growth as traditional home phone users decline. Primary retail consumer access lines fell 6.2 percent year-on-year.

It is also selling high-speed Internet and video services to retain customers and compete with cable service providers.

The company said high-speed Internet connections among its consumer and business customers rose 13.9 percent from a year earlier to 14.6 million.

Subscribers to its advanced, U-verse TV service rose to 379,000, a net gain of 148,000 for the quarter, and the company said it was on track to sign up more than 1 million by the end of 2008.

AT&T was formed through a series of mergers including SBC and BellSouth, and analysts have said savings from those mergers has also been boosting its earnings growth in the past few years.