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Big iPhone Sales Spur AT&T's Q4 Revenue Growth

By Craig Galbraith
January 24, 2013 - News

AT&T's fourth-quarter revenue and subscriber numbers beat analysts' expectations, but the phone giant fell just short in terms of profit.

The iPhone 5 was a big reason for its revenue increase, rising from $32.5 billion in the year-ago quarter to $32.58 billion in Q4 2012. Earlier this month, AT&T announced a new quarterly record for smartphone sales, many of which were Apple's iconic device (8.6 million); however, big smartphone sales can eat into profits because AT&T and other wireless carriers have to subsidize them to make them affordable. That being said, the company's earnings barely fell short of Wall Street's predictions, CNBC said.

AT&T reported 780,000 subscriber additions last quarter; the average industry prediction was about 700,000. That pales, however, in comparison to Verizon Wireless' 2.1 million adds.

Like rival Verizon, the carrier took significant losses due to larger-than-expected pension obligations and damage from Hurricane Sandy. But for the most part, AT&T's numbers were pretty decent.

AT&T's shares made no dramatic move after the closing bell, unlike Apple, which failed to meet lofty expectations Wednesday and saw its stock plummet more than 10 percent.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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