updated 11:10 am EDT, Tue October 23, 2007
ATT Helped by iPhone
AT&T saw its largest number of new cellular subscribers during a summer quarter, the company announced today as part of its latest quarterly report. The telecom firm's wireless division reported an effective gain of about two million new subscribers in the quarter following the iPhone's release in late June, a 46.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago and an all-time record for the season for the carrier, which was already considered the largest in the US. Customer "churn," or the turnover of subscribers, was also lower for the period at just 1.7 percent of the total user base, AT&T said.
The third calendar quarter similarly reflected more modest but higher overall improvements for AT&T, which saw an improved rate of revenue growth as well as an increased income profit margins and average revenue per user, which is usually determined by the subscription fees and purchases such as ringtones or online music.
Although the company did not break down new subscriptions by the phones attached to the new services, a significant number of the added subscribers are widely believed to be converts from rival services who jumped to AT&T to obtain the iPhone. The Apple handset is an AT&T multi-year exclusive and is also technically incompatible with Sprint, Verizon, and similar carriers that use the CDMA protocol.
Apple itself claims to have shipped about 1.4 million iPhones since launch, most of which have reportedly gone to existing AT&T customers.