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Grand Finale For Cingular: Net Income Up 283 Percent In Its Last Quarter

The blow out earnings gains were tempered somewhat by a lag in the number of new postpaid subscribers.
In what is expected to be its final financial report before becoming a structural part of AT&T, Cingular Wireless Wednesday announced blow out earnings gains tempered somewhat by a lag in the number of new postpaid subscribers.

The firm reported fourth quarter net income of $782 million, an increase of 283 percent over income for the comparable period in the previous year. Total revenue was $9.8 billion, which represents a 10.2 percent gain from the year-earlier quarter.

Cingular, which has been jointly operated by AT&T and BellSouth, is slated to carry the AT&T brand after AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth is consummated. The combined operation, the largest in the U.S. in terms of subscriber numbers, will record 2.4 million net subscriber additions as well as a 69 percent increase in data revenue.

Some financial analysts said they were disappointed that a relatively high percentage of prepaid subscribers could lead to a drop in total subscribers in the future, because prepaid subscribers aren't locked into long term contracts.

Cingular also noted that it will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for Apple's highly-anticipated iPhone, which is scheduled to be delivered to customers in June. Cingular executives have said they believe the popularity of Apple's iPod will help spur demand for the iPhone, which has music and video features like those of the iPod.

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