SAO PAULO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - TIM Participaçoes SA , Brazil's second-largest wireless phone company, posted a 3.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter net income despite falling revenues, as it continued selling rights to more of its cellular towers.
Profit rose from a year earlier to 475 million reais ($122 million) at the Brazilian unit of Telecom Italia SpA, according to a securities filing on Thursday.
Rising unemployment and inflation amid the worst economic downturn in decades has weighed on Brazilians' disposable income for cell services, especially in the lower-end prepaid segment that TIM has dominated in recent years.
TIM's net revenue fell 20 percent from a year earlier, to 4.12 billion reais in the fourth quarter.
TIM Participações' Chief Executive Rodrigo Abreu said the business environment continues to be challenging.
"Our users base fell for the first time after years of continued growth," he said, citing the local economy and also a trend toward substitution of voice services for messaging apps.
The company lost 6 million lines in the fourth quarter.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier to 1.514 billion reais.
Abreu said the company will stick with a strategy of investing in 4G infrastructure to capture growth on data transfer services.
$1 = 3.891 reais Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Tom Brown