BellSouth DSL, Wireless Backfill 1Q Line Losses

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BellSouth Corp. continued to bleed dwindling traditional phone lines in the first quarter of 2006, but with boosts from broadband and its Cingular Wireless stake, the telco saw overall revenues rise.

For the quarter, the Atlanta-based regional Bell operating company added a record 263,000 net new broadband digital-subscriber-line customers, and it now claims more than 3.1 million total broadband customers.

It also saw healthy growth among customers choosing to add DirecTV Inc. direct-broadcast satellite service to their BellSouth service bundles, adding 105,000 satellite customers for a total of 628,000.

Those additions offset the losses in traditional phone business, which whittled 238,000 access lines to now total 19.8 million. The losses were blamed primarily on customers substituting traditional landline phones with wireless service and, to a lesser extent, on competition from cable-telephony providers.

On the financial side, BellSouth saw normalized income -- which includes revenue from its 40% stake in Cingular Wireless -- rise to $983 million, a 20% increase compared with the $818 million it netted in the first quarter of 2005. Overall revenue from continuing operations came in at $5.17 billion, a modest 1.6% increase versus $5.09 billion posted in the same quarter last year.

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