Cingular Wireless 1Q Net Customer Additions 1.7 Million

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Cingular Wireless, the nation’s biggest wireless-phone company, said Wednesday it added 1.7 million net customers in the first quarter as the carrier held on to more of its subscribers. Cingular is a venture of AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp., which recently agreed to merge.

Cingular said first-quarter net income totaled $354 million, compared with a loss of $240 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 9% to $9 billion.

Cingular ended the quarter with 55.8 million users, an increase of 5.5 million over the year-ago quarter.

Monthly churn, or the number of customers who drop service, fell to a record low 1.9%. Average revenue per user fell 2.3% to $48.48, reflecting a bigger increase in wholesale customers.