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AT&T on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that were ahead of analysts’ estimates, as it added 1.2 million smartphones to its network.

The company posted adjusted net earnings of 53 cents per share — up from 44 cents a year earlier and above the analyst consensus estimate of 50 cents per share — on revenue of $33.2 billion, a 1.8 percent year-over-year increase.

AT&T’s smartphone gains include about 900,000 customers who upgraded from feature phones and 299,000 new customers who joined with a smartphone.

AT&T said that 1.5 million customers have signed up so far for AT&T Next, the company’s zero-money-down unsubsidized phone plan, in which users pay for their device in installments and can choose to upgrade their phone more frequently. AT&T Next accounted for 15 percent of the new smartphones and upgrades in the fourth quarter.

Rival T-Mobile, meanwhile, is launching its latest assault on AT&T on Tuesday, calling that company’s bounty for T-Mobile customers an opportunity for customers to test T-Mobile’s network for free. If for some reason they don’t like it, AT&T will pay the costs of switching to them, T-Mobile reckons.

Here’s T-Mobile’s cheeky press release “celebrating as AT&T dismantles [the] Death Star.”




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