UPDATE 1-AT&T to pass 2 mln U-Verse users today

Wed Dec 9, 2009 9:39am EST

* Sees passing 2 mln U-Verse customers today

* Sees raising mobile margins several hundred basis points

* Promises to improve mobile network in N.Y., San Fran

NEW YORK, Dec 9 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N) expects to pass 2 million customers for its U-Verse video service today, Ralph de la Vega, the company's head of its wireless business and consumer markets, said on Wednesday.

The executive also said at a UBS investor conference that the company, which is offering video to help it compete better with cable providers, is very close to offering services that allow consumers to move media content between their televisions, cellphones and computers.

De la Vega said AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, would push its wireless margins into the 40 percent range next year from around 38 percent in the third quarter and would eventually see mobile margins in the 45 percent range.

"We've several hundred basis points more of wireless margin expansion in the next few years," de la Vega said.

The executive promised to improve AT&T's wireless network performance in New York and San Francisco "in the short term" as the company had seen huge strain on its network in those markets.

While AT&T has experienced strong growth from its exclusive U.S. rights to sell Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone, the device has highlighted weaknesses in its wireless data network, as many iPhone holders use data services such as mobile Web surfing a lot more than other cellphone users.

In morning trade, AT&T shares were off 3 cents at $27.58 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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