AT&T posts revenue and income gains on mobile growth

The company's mobile data revenue grows 18.8 percent over a year earlier

More mobile customers and increasing mobile data use pushed AT&T's revenue up slightly in the second quarter of 2012 and helped drive an 8.7 percent increase in net income.

AT&T on Tuesday reported revenue of US$31.6 billion, up 0.3 percent from the second quarter of 2011. Net income was $3.9 billion, compared to $3.6 billion a year ago. Mobile revenue was $16.4 billion, up 4.8 percent from the second quarter of 2011, and mobile data revenue was up by $1 billion or 18.78 percent.

Excluding the revenue for AT&T's advertising solutions unit, which it sold May 8, revenue was up 2 percent, the company said in a press release.

The company reported an addition of 1.3 million mobile customers, bringing the number to 105.2 million.

The company also reported the first revenue growth in its enterprise services in four years, as well as a 1.7 percent growth in consumer wireline revenue, the largest growth there in more than four years.

AT&T's earnings per share for the quarter were $0.66, beating analyst expectations of $0.63.

The quarterly results showed "strong execution across the board," Susan Johnson, AT&T's senior vice president of investor relations, said in a video posted on the company's website. "No matter how you cut it, we had an outstanding wireless quarter, thanks to our focus on mobile data."

AT&T sold 5.1 million smartphones during the quarter, with 3.7 million of Apple's iPhones activated, the company said in a press release. Smartphone users are "valuable customers" giving AT&T twice the revenue of other mobile customers, Johnson said. About 43 million AT&T mobile customers own smartphones, officials said.

The company's wireline revenue for the quarter was $14.9 billion, down 0.8 percent from a year ago. Residential wireline revenue was $5.5 billion, up 1.7 percent. The company's U-verse broadband and television service revenue grew 38.3 percent from a year ago.

U-verse TV added 155,000 subscribers to reach 4.1 million during the quarter, while U-verse broadband added 553,000 customers to reach 6.5 million. Total broadband connections, including DSL, declined by 96,000, however.

The company reported a "very strong quarterly performance," independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan said in an email. "While the traditional wire line business may be declining, wireless, Internet and U-verse television are rising."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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