Telstra first-half profit rises 23 Pct to $1.58B

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SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's largest telecommunications company, Telstra Corp., has reported a 23 percent first-half profit increase to $1.47 billion ($1.58 billion) over the same period a year earlier.

The former government-owned monopoly said in a statement Thursday the result for the six months through December was in line with the company's expectations "despite the difficult macro economic backdrop."

Telstra said it added 958,000 mobile customers in Australia during the half and signed up 106,000 fixed broadband customers.

Its fixed line business continued to struggle, shedding 136,000 customers with a loss of 9 percent of revenue to AU$2.49 billion.

Telstra's profit shrank 17 percent to AU$3.2 billion in the last fiscal year.

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