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AT&T Earnings Rise

The telco cites strong wireless gains.
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AT&T (T) - Get Report said third-quarter earnings rose 13% from a year ago.

The San Antonio, Texas, telco made $3.1 billion, or 50 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with the year-ago $2.2 billion, or 56 cents a share. Revenue jumped to $30.1 billion from $15.6 billion a year ago, reflecting the Dec. 29, 2006, acquisition of BellSouth.

Excluding certain items, earnings were 71 cents a share in the latest quarter, up from 63 cents a year ago and matching the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate.

"We delivered an excellent third quarter," said CEO Randall Stephenson. "Revenue growth continues to ramp, merger integration is on track, adjusted earnings and free cash flow are both strong."

AT&T said it added 2 million net new wireless users, including 1.2 million postpaid new users, as the company and rival

Verizon

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continue to gain ground at the expense of weaker players such as

Sprint

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. Wireless revenue rose 14.4% from a year ago, AT&T said, led by a 63.9% jump in wireless data revenue.

Overall churn, reflecting monthly customer defections, was 1.7%, with postpaid churn at 1.3%. Wireless service average revenue per user, or Arpu, rose 2% from a year ago to $50.82.

AT&T regional consumer revenue connections (retail access lines, high-speed Internet plus video connections) totaled 49.6 million at the end of the third quarter, up 895,000 or 1.8% over the past year, and regional consumer revenues grew 0.1%. Growth in connections reflects gains in high-speed Internet and video over the past year totaling 2.7 million, which more than offset net declines in traditional retail consumer access lines.

The company said it added 75,000 AT&T U-verse digital TV subscribers in the latest quarter, bringing its total to 126,000.