Rabu, 23 Juli 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top phone company AT&T Inc (T.N) posted on Wednesday a higher quarterly profit as stronger-than-expected growth in wireless subscribers compensated for shrinking traditional landlines.

The results pushed AT&T shares up 2.5 percent, though analysts said they remained worried about the fall in home phone lines and also pointed to weaker-than-expected growth in high-speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter.

"The access line loss was worse than expected," said Todd Rethemeier, analyst at Soleil-Sur Terre Research. "Its an accelerating loss from the second quarter of last year."

AT&Ts primary consumer access lines fell 8.7 percent from a year ago, while its high-speed Internet users increased by 46,000 during the quarter to 14.7 million.

"The broadband customer additions fell off a cliff," Rethemeier said. "They added almost 500,000 in the first quarter of this year. The second quarter is always seasonally weak, but we were still expecting 300,000," he said.

Second-quarter profit rose to 3.8 billion, or 63 cents a share, from 2.9 billion, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items such as merger-related costs, profit was 76 cents a share, in line with the average Wall Street forecast, according to Reuters Estimates.

Quarterly revenue rose 4.7 percent to 30.9 billion.

AT&T, the exclusive U.S. carrier for Apple Incs (AAPL.O) iPhone, said it added more than 1.3 million net wireless subscribers in the quarter.

That was above the average forecast for 1.25 million additions by seven analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Both AT&T and rival Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) have banked on growth in mobile phone users and invested in high-speed Internet services to retain customers.

AT&T shares rose to 32.60 in pre-market trade from their New York Stock Exchange close on Tuesday of 31.82.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Derek Caney)


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