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AT&T tops estimates in 3Q

AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) beat Wall Street estimates by a penny Monday with third quarter operating earnings of $1.75 billion, or 54 cents a share, on revenue of $16.3 billion. Earnings were down from a year ago, primarily because of the acquisitions of TCI and IBM's Global Network business.

Earnings were down from $1.83 billion, or 68 cents a share, on revenue of $15.4 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

Backing out the operations from TCI and IBM, AT&T reported earnings of 81 cents a share, up 19 percent from a year ago. On a continuing operations basis, AT&T reported earnings of 50 cents a share including one-time items.

AT&T's wireless unit showed the best growth, but the consumer and business divisions struggled. AT&T's business services unit had revenue of $6.3 billion, up 5 percent from $5.97 billion a year ago. Sales for the consumer services unit were off 4.7 percent to $5.6 billion amid long distance price competition. Wireless revenue was up 44.2 percent.

The company's Internet and broadband unit, formerly known as TCI, were $1.44 billion, up 6.7 percent.

AT&T said access and interconnection expenses fell by 4.3 percent from a year ago, but the cuts were offset by long distance volume.

AT&T announced late Friday that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the global joint venture with British Telecom (NYSE: BTY), completing the full regulatory process.