AT&T Revenue Rises 18.6% on DirecTV Acquisition; More Prepaid Subscriber Additions

AT&T Inc, long the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier and since July the world's biggest pay-TV operator, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by its DirecTV acquisition and as it added more prepaid mobile subscribers.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $3.0 billion, or 50 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $3.13 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company, reporting its first earnings since completing its $48 billion acquisition of satellite TV operator DirecTV, said total operating revenue rose to $39.1 billion from $33.0 billion.

Excluding items, the company reported earnings of 74 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 69 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

AT&T shares were up 2.74 percent in after-hours trading.

The company said it had 289,000 postpaid and 466,000 prepaid net additions in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The saturated wireless market has triggered a battle for subscribers among U.S. wireless carriers.

AT&T said last month it would change the methodology DirecTV used to count its commercial subscribers, which will reduce DirecTV's total subscriber count by 918,600 at the close of the deal in July.

AT&T said on Wednesday consensus revenue estimates for its third-quarter were "inflated" as they differed from its own accounting, which includes results from DirecTV.

(Reporting by Kshitiz Goliya and Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Sriraj Kalluvila)