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U.S. Cellular Corp. cumulatively added 44,000 postpaid smartphones in the third quarter of the year but said Wednesday that revenues were down from the same period last year.

The Chicago-based carrier, the nation's fifth largest, also touted a churn rate of 1.16 percent, which company officials attributed to promotions and unlimited data plans.

"Overall, we are competing effectively in the marketplace," President and CEO Kenneth Meyers said in a statement. "Our subscriber results are strong evidence that customers value our Total Plans and love the quality of our award-winning network."

Although the 44,000 net smartphone additions were the highest in at least a year, the company overall added 35,000 postpaid accounts due to a loss in its feature phones category. U.S. Cellular also added 31,000 net prepaid customers and totaled nearly 5.1 million connections as of Sept. 30.

The company's total operating revenues of $963 million, however, were $60 million below the totals from the third quarter of 2016 and represented a diluted loss of $3.51 per share. Both were below expectations from Wells Fargo analysts, but the added handsets beat projections.

Executives blamed price pressure throughout the wireless industry as well as a $370 million non-cash charge. Without that charge, the company saw $10 million in net income, which was still below the $17 million in the previous third quarter.

Meyers said that lower operating expenses in all major categories helped offset the effects of price competition and that those savings, along with its new customer growth, prompted the company to raise expectations for its full-year adjusted earnings.

Industry observers, meanwhile, said widespread pricing pressure is unlikely to ease anytime soon and that it could become worse for U.S. Cellular as T-Mobile expands its geographic reach into the company's core markets.

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