In this July 18, 2019 photo, a sign is displayed at an AT&T retail store in Miami. Shares of AT&T Inc. rose Thursday, April 22, 2021 after the telecom giant's first-quarter results topped analyst expectations. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Shares of AT&T Inc. rose Thursday after the telecom giant's first-quarter results topped analyst expectations.

The company's wireless division, its largest unit, added 595,000 phone customers who pay a monthly bill, up from 163,000 in the same period in 2020. It also added 207,000 prepaid phone customers.

In the WarnerMedia entertainment unit, revenue rose 9.8% to $8.5 billion. The company doesn't break out how many people sign up for its , HBO Max, but said there are now 44.2 million subscribers to HBO Max or the traditional HBO channel in the U.S. Entertainment companies have launched several in the past couple years in an effort to gain on Netflix and as the audience for traditional TV shrinks.

AT&T also signed up 46,000 home internet customers and lost 620,000 video customers. AT&T is spinning off its DirecTV business after having lost about 60% of its satellite and cable TV base since buying DirecTV in 2015.

The Dallas reported first-quarter net income of $7.55 billion, or $1.04 per share. Adjusted for one-time items, they came to 86 cents per share, beating the average estimate of 77 cents per from 16 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 2.7% to $43.94 billion, topping Wall Street's estimate of $42.76 billion.

AT&T shares rose more than 5% to $31.74 in morning trading. The shares had increased nearly 5% since the beginning of the year as of Wednesday's close, while the S&P's 500 index has increased 11%.