AT&T 1Q Profit Up 39% on Strong Wireless, Data Revenue

AT&T (NYSE:T) said Wednesday its first-quarter profits increased by an in-line 39% as the telecom heavyweight benefited from continued growth in its crucial wireless business.

The Dallas company said it earned $3.41 billion, or 57 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $2.45 billion, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of 57 cents.

Revenue increased 2.3% to $31.25 billion, essentially matching the Street’s view of $31.26 billion.

“We delivered another robust mobile broadband growth quarter for a very solid start to the year,” CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “We posted double-digit wireless revenue growth, and we set new first-quarter records in total net adds, connected device net adds and smartphone sales. Growth in tablets and other branded computing subscribers also continues to be strong.”

AT&T, which unveiled a $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA earlier this year, said it grew its net wireless subscribers by 2 million last quarter, giving it 97.5 million subscribers. The company added 62,000 net contract customers, surpassing a Reuters estimate for a loss of 83,000 customers, but well off the year-earlier levels.

Roughly 3.6 million of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone were activated during the quarter.Wireless revenue jumped 8.6% last quarter to $13.96 billion and wireless data sales climbed 10.2%.

AT&T said its data sales increased 8% to $7.18 billion, while its voice revenue slid 12.5% to $6.55 billion.

Shares of AT&T slipped 0.23% to $30.24 in Wednesday’s premarkets. The stock has rallied just over 3% so far this year.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), the majority owner of rival Verizon Wireless, is slated to report results on Thursday.