updated 7/25/2006 9:30:59 AM ET 2006-07-25T13:30:59

AT&T Inc., the nation's largest telecommunications company, on Tuesday said progress in integrating the operations of the former AT&T with SBC Communications and increased contributions from Cingular Wireless caused second-quarter profit to surge 81 percent

Quarterly profit rose to $1.8 billion, or 46 cents per share, from $1 billion, or 30 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding merger related charges, AT&T reported earnings of 58 cents per share — up 34.9 percent from the same period last year.

Combined operating revenue surged 53 percent to $15.8 billion from $10.3 billion last year. The year-ago results do not include the operations of the former AT&T.

Results topped Wall Street projections for earnings of 53 cents per share, excluding merger costs, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Revenue at Cingular rose 7 percent to $9.2 billion, as the unit posted a net subscriber gain on 1.5 percent and ended the quarter with 57.3 million subscribers. Average revenue per user increased 39 percent to $5.77, AT&T said.

"We delivered another strong quarter, with excellent growth in both earnings and cash flow," said Chairman and Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre in a statement. "These results demonstrate strong momentum as we look forward to the second half of the year and completion of our pending acquisition of BellSouth."

AT&T is set to buy BellSouth Corp. later this year, and take full control of joint venture Cingular — of which it currently holds a 60 percent stake.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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