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AT&T adds 566,000 new wireless subscribers in Q4, but can't keep pace with Verizon

AT&T adds 566,000 new wireless subscribers in Q4, but can't keep pace with Verizon

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AT&T just announced its financial results for Q4 2013 — revenue and subscribers have continued to grow, although not at the rapid pace that Verizon announced last week. The company's total revenue for the quarter was $33.2 billion, up 1.8 percent from the year before, while its net income of $6.9 billion was a significant increase over the $3.9 billion loss the company posted last year. AT&T's total wireless revenue hit $18.4 billion for the quarter, up 4.5 percent year over year. Data revenues grew at an even higher rate — its $5.7 billion in data revenue was up 16.8 percent year over year, and AT&T was proud to note that it posted its lowest-ever post-paid churn rate of 1.11 percent.

In terms of new customers, however, AT&T couldn't keep up with Verizon despite that low churn rate. All told, the company added 809,000 new wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter, trailing Verizon's 1.7 million new subscribers. 566,000 of AT&T's new customers were postpaid, contracted customers, with 299,000 new smartphone subscribers among them. That's down 27 percent from the 780,000 postpaid customers AT&T added in Q4 2012 — possibly a result of a dual onslaught from a powerful Verizon and a resurgent T-Mobile. 77 percent of the company's postpaid subscribers are using smartphones now, up slightly from the 75 percent the company announced last quarter.

Overall, the company sold a total of 1.2 million smartphones, and a whopping 93 percent of AT&T's postpaid phone sales were smartphones. The carrier also added 440,000 new tablet connections. Overall, AT&T's 72.6 million total postpaid wireless customers trailed Verizon's 96.2 million, with the carrier solidly continuing to sit in second place.

AT&T also gave a quick update on its LTE network — it reaches 280 million people in the US, and more than half of the carrier's postpaid smartphones are using its LTE network. The company's AT&T Next smartphone upgrade also appears to be gaining some traction with consumers, as AT&T noted that more than 1 million of the total 1.5 million Next subscribers signed up in Q4. As for the company's Mobile Share shared data plans, AT&T says almost one-third of its postpaid customer base have switched over to the plans it launched last year, and 15 percent of those customers have switched over from old unlimited data plans.

AT&T is holding its investor call now, and we'll update this post with any additional news we hear.