Wireless and Data Push AT&T Income, Revenue up in Q1

AT&T reported net income of US$3.5 billion for the first quarter of 2008, up from $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Strong wireless and data revenue drove the results.

Total revenue reached $30.7 billion for the quarter, which ended March 31. Revenue was up 6.1 percent from the first quarter of 2007, the company reported on Tuesday.

Adjusted earnings per share were $0.74, meeting expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

The company's wireless division posted revenue increases of 18.3 percent from the first quarter of 2007, including a 57.3 percent increase in wireless data revenue. Wireless revenue for the quarter was $11.8 billion, with wireless data revenue making up $2.3 billion of that total. Wireless data, including e-mail, messaging and data access, now represents 21.5 percent of AT&T's wireless revenue not including handset and accessory sales, up from 16 percent in the first quarter of 2007 and 10.9 percent in the first quarter of 2006, the company said.

AT&T has been the exclusive provider of wireless service for Apple's iPhone in the U.S. since the handset shipped in June 2007.

AT&T reported a net gain of 104,000 wireless subscribers during the quarter. The company now has 1.3 million wireless subscribers.

"AT&T is moving quickly to create the next generation of wireless," Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. "The future of wireless has never been more promising, and I am very pleased that ... we have assembled the industry's premier, high-quality wireless spectrum position."

AT&T won 227 spectrum licenses in the recently completed 700MHz auction by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. In addition, earlier this year, the company completed its purchase of 12MHz of wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band that covers 60 percent of the U.S. from Aloha Spectrum Holdings. Wireless experts see the 700MHz spectrum as optimal for delivering long-range wireless broadband service.

AT&T reported broadband revenue growth of 13.2 percent, to $1.4 billion [b], from the first quarter of 2007. Total high-speed Internet connections increased by 491,000 during the quarter, with 14.6 million [m] consumer and business high-speed connections, the company said.

Wireline voice revenue was down 7.3 percent from the first quarter of 2007, from $10.5 billion [b] to $9.7 billion [b].

AT&T announced Friday that it would lay off about 4,650 employees, mostly from management positions, in an effort to streamline operations. The company's total number of employees, about 310,000, was expected to remain unchanged however, as AT&T hired people in other areas, the company said.

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