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AT&T raises 2012 smartphone sales target

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc raised its 2012 smartphone sales target to 26 million from 25 million on strong demand so far this quarter.

The company sold 6.4 million smartphones in the first two months of the fourth quarter, AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega said at the UBS media and communications conference.

"Traffic in stores has been strong," de la Vega said.

The executive cited strong sales of Apple Inc's iPhones and phones based on Google Inc's Android software and Microsoft's Windows software.

He also told reporters that Nokia's Lumia phones were selling "very well" at the No. 2 US mobile service provider, adding that inventory was tight for Lumia phones.

However, De la Vega noted that high smartphone sales usually "puts pressure on margins" as it increases costs but he declined to give specific outlook.

Five million customers opted for AT&T's data share plans in less than four months, he said.

About 25 percent of customers buying data share plans had opted for data allowances of 10 gigabits or higher, which was higher than the company had expected.

Data share plans allow customers to share a single data subscription among multiple devices.

De la Vega said 15 percent of its customers on mobile share plans moved from unlimited data use plans.

AT&T shares were up 0.5 percent at $34.10 on the New York Stock Exchange in morning trade on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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