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AT&T earnings solid despite loss of iPhone rights

The company surpassed Wall Street expectations and posted earnings of 57 cents a share in first-quarter subscriber growth

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In this April 15, 2011 photo, AT&T Go phones are shown at a Best Buy store in San Francisco. AT&T subscribers are still buying iPhones, but with Verizon now selling the phone too, it seems to have lost its power to draw new subscribers to AT&T.

Jeff Chiu / AP

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AT&T posted record first-quarter subscriber growth, despite giving up exclusive US rights to sell the iPhone.

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The company posted earnings of 57 cents a share, narrowly topping Wall Street expectations, on net income of $3.4 billion. That compares to 41 cents a share and $2.5 billion from the same quarter in 2010.

Revenue rose 2.3 percent to $31.2 billion.

AT&T shares were up about 2 percent in premarket trading.

"We delivered another robust mobile broadband growth quarter for a very solid start to the year," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Though AT&T now must share rights to the Apple iPhone with Verizon, it saw a 10.2 percent growth in revenues, including an 8.6 percent increase in wireless service revenues.

It marked the company's best-ever first quarter increase in total subscribers, which rose 2 million to 97.5 million total.

The company also saw its best first-quarter smartphone sales, with more than 5.5 million units sold, and an increase of one million annualized in iPhone activations.

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