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AT&T Forecast Falls Short as IPhone Boosts Subsidy Costs

AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, predicted 2012 earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates as record demand for smartphones such as the iPhone drive up subsidy costs. The stock fell.

The carrier projected “mid-single-digit or better earnings growth” for 2012, according to statement today. Analysts predicted 11 percent on average. Dallas-based AT&T also reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $6.68 billion because of a pretax charge of about $4 billion for the failed takeover of T-Mobile USA, and expenses for revaluing benefit plans and other assets.