SAO PAULO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - TIM Participações SA , Brazil’s second-largest wireless phone company, on Tuesday reported third-quarter net income of 279 million reais ($85.3 million), up 51.6 percent from a year earlier, as customers continued to shift away from pre-paid plans in the strengthening economy.
Profit at TIM, which is controlled by Telecom Italia SpA , beat a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of 261 million reais. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 17.2 percent to 1.527 billion reais, after normalizing for tower sales and other items, above a consensus estimate of 1.481 billion reais.
TIM, like competitor Telefonica Brasil SA, is focusing on post-paid growth and other higher- and medium-end offerings to boost profits as the country begins to emerge from its worst recession in a century. TIM has rapidly expanded its 4G consumer base in recent quarters, which has allowed it to charge customers more due to increased data usage.
Post-paid accounted for roughly 28 percent of the user base in the third quarter, up from 20 percent a year ago.
Post-paid connections increased 64 percent, while pre-paid connections grew 39 percent. Average revenue per user rose 8 percent from a year earlier in the post-paid segment and 4 percent for pre-paid.
Usage of 4G eclipsed older networks for the first time, with the company more than tripling the number of cities covered by its 4G network compared to a year ago. ($1 = 3.2713 reais) (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Jake Spring; Editing by Leslie Adler)