AT&T gains on iPhone subscriptions

Ma Bell's mobile business grew by 331,000 customers, while wired connections fell by more than a million.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 21, 2011 10:41AM

By Scott Moritz, TheStreet

 

AT&T (T) reported growth in wireless, thanks to the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and to tablet sales, but slow video gains and continued declines in wired connections dragged down results.

 

The Dallas phone giant reported a profit Thursday of 60 cents a share, down a penny from year-ago earnings and in line with analysts' estimates.

 

In terms of sales for the second quarter, Ma Bell booked $31.5 billion in sales, up 2% from the $30.8 billion level a year ago, and slightly above the $31.3 billion analysts were looking for.

 

In wireless, where the iPhone represented nearly two-thirds of all smartphones sold in the quarter, AT&T added 331,000 postpaid subscribers. Analysts had been looking for about 200,000 new phone subscribers.

By comparison, rival Verizon (VZ) is expected to have gained 1 million postpaid subscribers in the quarter, according to analysts. Verizon reports earnings before the market opens Friday.

 

Mobile data devices like iPads, tablets and MiFi also helped boost wireless growth. AT&T says it added 545,000 data device subscribers in the quarter.

 

"We delivered another strong quarter capping a solid first half of the year," CEO Randall Stephenson said in the earnings release Thursday.

 

In its core telephone business, AT&T continued to show an alarming erosion of phone connections. The total access line count fell by 1.16 million in the second quarter and was down 10.3% from year ago levels.

 

In video, AT&T says it added 202,000 U-Verse TV subscribers for a total of 3.4 million users. The company said its average U-Verse triple-play package is raking in $170 a month, an 8.3% annual increase. Competitive triple play promotional packages from cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) or Time Warner Cable (CVC) are usually in the $100 or less range.

The company also says it is on track to close its takeover of T-Mobile in the first quarter of next year.

 

AT&T shares were up 1.1% to $30.55 Thursday morning.

 

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