Comcast phones in the profits

Company makes inroads in digital voice

Comcast excited Wall Street on Thursday when it announced net income of $466 million and gains in its phone biz.

Profits in the first quarter rose significantly from $143 million last year at the country’s largest cable operator, in part because its bundled phone service finally seems to be catching on.

Company benefited from an uptick in cable subs of 47,000 after losing more than half that amount in the same frame in 2005. Comcast saw gains in its investment portfolio, which accounted for $64 million of its net income.

Investors loved the news and sent the stock up $1.23, to $30.45.

Revenue was also up at the firm, by a count of 10%, to $5.9 billion. But the real coup for investors was the inroads the cabler is making in digital voice.

Comcast said it had signed up 211,000 subs this quarter, a large increase over last year, and had jumped overall phone revenue 9% to $191 million. Company’s goal is 1 million new subs in 2006.