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SBC Communications reports increased first-quarter profits

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SBC Communications Inc. April 21 announced first quarter diluted earnings per share of 49 cents, a 16.7 percent increase from 42 cents in the first quarter of 1997. An SBC release said the results were led by a 5.1 percent increase in telephone access lines, with a first-quarter record increase of 494,000 access lines.

Earnings increased 18.9 percent to $912 million from $767 million in the same quarter of 1997. Revenues increased 7.6 percent to $6.4 billion from $6 billion last year.

Southwestern Bell Telephone operations reported revenues of $2.7 billion, a 5.5 percent increase over 1997, in the first quarter. The company said revenues from frame-

relay, ISDN, DS1 and DS3 services offered by Southwestern Bell increased more than 50 percent from last year's first quarter.

"Our first-quarter performance puts us on track to deliver solid, double-digit earnings growth," said Edward E. Whitacre Jr., chairman and CEO. "Our access line growth was outstanding, and we are already seeing the benefits of our merger with Pacific Telesis as our vertical services penetration, including Caller ID, increases on the West Coast."

SBC cited a number of first-quarter highlights:

?Business-line growth of 8 percent, the 12th consecutive quarter of business-line growth of more than 7 percent.

?The addition of 112,000 wireless subscribers in the quarter and 919,000 for the previous 12 months. Total wireless customers for SBC now total 5.6 million, an increase of 19.6 percent in the last year. Southwestern Bell and Cellular One now have 5.2 million wireless subscribers.

?Pacific Bell addition of 193,000 Caller ID subscribers, penetrating 8 percent of the residential market with the service. Southwestern Bell added 290,000 Caller ID subscribers in the first quarter of 1998, bringing its residential-line penetration to 47.6 percent.

"We continue to stay very focused on our business and on maintaining our strong momentum," Whitacre said.

"This quarter we also reached tentative agreement on a new multi-year contract with the Communications Workers of America over approximately 75,000 Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell employees; we filed applications with state regulators to offer long distance service in five of our seven states; and our proposed merger with Southern New England Telecommunications is moving along well."

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