U.S. Cellular added 33,000 net postpaid smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2017, but a loss in feature phones and other connected devices curbed its overall postpaid additions to a net of 5,000.

Although that total was down from the previous quarter, it reversed slight net postpaid losses by the nation's No. 5 carrier in the same quarter of 2016.

The operator's 1.27 percent churn, meanwhile, increased over the past quarter but also improved from the previous fourth quarter.

"We made significant progress on the strategic imperatives we set for 2017," CEO Kenneth Meyers said in a statement. "With the success of our Total Plans, which include an unlimited data option and no hidden fees, we were able to grow our customer base through the powerful combination of new customer additions and increased loyalty and customer engagement."

The carrier reported diluted earnings of $3.18 per share with help from $269 million related to tax legislation passed last year. Quarterly operating revenues of $1.03 billion were up compared to the previous fourth quarter, but expenditures narrowly exceeded those totals and led to an operating loss of $4 million.

Meyers touted the introduction of additional capacity and new products and services, including VoLTE in Iowa and Wisconsin, while keeping capital spending "well below our original expectations."

"As we look to 2018, I am optimistic about our ability to increase revenues through a larger subscriber base and an expectation for a more rational competitive environment," Meyers said.