(Reuters) – AT&T Inc reported a better-than-expected increase in subscribers in the fourth quarter on Wednesday as aggressive holiday season promotions helped it attract more customers looking to upgrade their devices and internet plans.
After selling its media assets last year, AT&T has renewed its focus on the telecom business and stepped up competition with Verizon for subscribers.
The U.S. carrier added 656,000 postpaid phone subscribers in the latest quarter, beating Factset estimates of 644,800 additions. Pay-as-you-go subscribers are closely watched by analysts and investors as those customers pay their bill each month, making them valuable to carriers.
AT&T reported a loss from continuing operations of $23.1 billion, or $3.20 per share, in the quarter after taking a $25 billion impairment charge mainly due to rising interest rates and asset impairments.
Excluding items, the company earned 61 cents per share. Analysts on average expected earnings of 57 cents, according to Refinitiv data. It was not immediately clear whether the numbers were comparable.
The carrier expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.35 to $2.45 per share, compared with analysts’ estimates of $2.56 per share.
Wireless revenue growth is expected to be 4% or higher, AT&T said.
On Tuesday, larger rival Verizon forecast annual profit below expectations and said it expects wireless revenue to grow 2.5% to 4.5% in 2023.
(Reporting by Samrita Arunasalam and Eva Mathews in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva)