February 5, 2018 / 11:25 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's TIM beats profit estimates, aided by upscale products

(Adds operational figures)

SAO PAULO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - TIM Participações SA , Brazil’s third-largest wireless carrier, on Monday reported fourth-quarter net income up 66 percent from a year earlier, as customers shifted to pricier plans as the economy recovered.

Net income at TIM, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia SpA , was 604 million reais ($185 million), beating a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of 462 million reais.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization also beat expectations, rising 13 percent to 1.77 billion reais, above a Reuters consensus estimate of 1.69 billion reais.

TIM, like competitors Telefonica Brasil SA and the local unit of America Movil SAB de CV, is focusing on higher margin cell phone ‘post-paid’ plans and other high- and medium-end offerings, such as 4G and streaming, to boost profits as Brazil begins to emerge from its worst recession in decades.

In the fourth quarter to December, the number of mobile clients in the post-paid segment jumped 19.6 percent year-on-year, while clients in the pay-as-you-go pre-paid segment plunged 15.9 percent. Average revenue per user also climbed, increasing 13.9 percent to 21.9 reais.

TIM’s campaign to focus on high-end products has been accompanied by a drive to maintain cost discipline. The company said total costs ticked up 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the year before.

$1 = 3.26 reais Reporting by Gram Slattery, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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