AT&T Results Get Boost from Record iPhone Activations

Telecom giant posts solid TV subscriber growth

NEW YORK - Telecom giant AT&T on Thursday reported solid third-quarter growth in U-verse TV subscribers as it posted strong earnings gains driven in part by a record number of iPhone activations.

The U-Verse user base increased by 236,000 in the quarter, down only slightly from the 240,000 gain recorded in the same period a year earlier, to reach 2.7 million. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said the growth was "in line" with his expectations.

The solid gain for U-verse, which competes with cable and satellite TV services, came after the company lost some user growth momentum year-over-year in recent quarters. For example, for the second quarter, AT&T had reported a 209,000 subscriber gain, down from 248,000 in the year-earlier period.

AT&T's total video subscribers, combining U-verse and bundled satellite TV customers, reached 4.7 million at the end of the quarter, or 18.8% of households served by the firm.

In the third quarter, U-verse revenue reached $1.1 billion, up 84.5% over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, AT&T reported 5.2 million iPhone activations in the latest quarter, 62% above the previous record figure - 3.2 million - set in the second quarter.