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AT&T reports small earnings gain for third quarter

AT&T Inc. reported a small gain in third-quarter earnings
For the period ended Sept. 30, AT&T reported net income of $3.8 billion, or 72 cents per share, compared to net income of $3.6 billion, or 63 cents per share, for the same period last year
Adjusted for tax items and sale of wireless spectrum, AT&T said adjusted earnings for the quarter came in at 66 cents per share
Revenue rose 2.2% to $32.2 billion
Post-paid net adds in smartphone activations totaled 178,000
Analysts were expecting earnings of 65 cents per share on revenue of $32.2 billion, according to consensus estimates from FactSet

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geniopolis.net dijo...

AT&T Inc.'s /quotes/zigman/398198/quotes/nls/t T -0.05% third-quarter profit climbed 4.9% as the telecommunication giant added more wireless subscribers.

AT&T added 363,000 customers who signed long-term service contracts in the latest period, compared with 151,000 a year ago and 551,000 in the second quarter. Verizon Wireless--the joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group PLC (VOD, VOD.LN) -- last week said it added 927,000 of the most profitable contract subscribers.

Both AT&T and Verizon are facing increased competition in the wireless industry, as smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) pushes an aggressive marketing campaign and Sprint Corp. (S) invests heavily in its network.

And while wireless contract plans are a key metric for the telecommunications giants, both Verizon and AT&T have unveiled plans that bill subscribers for the full price of their phone--broken into monthly payments--but allow customers to upgrade to new devices at a faster pace. The new plans move away from hefty subsidies AT&T and Verizon offer for smartphones purchased with traditional contracts.

Overall, AT&T reported a profit of $3.81 billion, or 72 cents a share, up from $3.64 billion, or 63 cents a share a year earlier. Excluding income tax items and other gains, adjusted profit grew to 66 cents from 62 cents a share.

Revenue rose 2.2% to $32.16 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had projected a profit of 65 cents on $32.19 billion in revenue.

AT&T said the rate at which wireless contract customers left its network, called churn, inched down to 1.07% from 1.08% a year earlier, but grew from 1.02% in the prior quarter.

Total wireless revenue, including equipment sales, grew 5.1%, while total wireline revenue fell 1% year-over-year.

The company said it added 1.2 million postpaid smartphone subscribers during the quarter and sold 6.7 million smartphones, a record for the third quarter.

AT&T said earlier this week it would sell the long-term rights to manage a portfolio of cell-phone towers to Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) for $4.85 billion in cash. The deal comes as AT&T has expressed interest in overseas deals and has ramped up spending on its network in the U.S.

The company is also in the process of closing a deal to buy prepaid carrier Leap Wireless for $1.2 billion plus $2.8 billion in net debt. Earlier Wednesday, Leap postponed a shareholder vote on the acquisition by about a week in order to correct errors in prior financial statements.