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AT&T activates 4.1m iPhones in last pre-Verizon quarter

updated 08:10 am EST, Thu January 27, 2011

ATT activates 4.1m iPhones in Q4, 442,000 tablets

AT&T had its best fall ever for growth today as a send-off for its US iPhone exclusivity. It added 2.8 million total new subscribers and overtook Verizon to become the largest US carrier, with 95.5 million people. Its iPhone adds weren't as high as in the summer but were still its best for the fall, jumping from 3.1 million a year ago to 4.1 million at the end of 2010.

The iPad also played a role in device results. AT&T added 442,000 new tablets to its mix in the fall from a combination of Android and the iPad, but with the Samsung Galaxy Tab only available for the last month of the period, almost all could be attributed to Apple. About 90 percent, regardless of type, were taking advantage of the prepaid data option.

The overall smartphone drive was reflected in AT&T's wireless data revenue jumping 27.4 percent year-over-year and the average revenue per person up to almost $63, indicating that the growth in smartphone adoption was offsetting the decision to offer the cheaper $15, 250MB data plan. Its customer turnover was also at a record low, going down to 1.32 percent overall and 1.15 percent for subscription users.

While a record, the quarter was a bittersweet one for the carrier as it will no longer have the certainty of an iPhone exclusive and was still heavily reliant on Apple's device to represent its customer additions. The carrier isn't necessarily due to face a mass exodus to Verizon but is expected to see fewer defectors from rival carriers and will likely lose significant numbers of customers in trouble areas where its 3G network quality is still problematic, such as New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.

AT&T was optimistic and expected to increase its revenue in 2011. So far, it has primarily counted on carrying advanced Android devices like the Motorola Atrix 4G as well as the HTC Inspire 4G and Samsung Infuse 4G. With the exception of the Samsung Captivate, it had mostly neglected high-end smartphones in 2010 outside of the iPhone and the late launch of Windows Phone 7 hardware.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +3

    If AT&T was able to activate that many iPhones

    in the last quarter, you can imagine what Verizon will be able to do. Judging from iPhone demand, Verizon might be able to activate the same amount in the first couple of months if there really is pent-up iPhone demand. It looks like Apple might really be able to crank up its revenue for another year. I'm counting on iPhone "halo effect" to keep consumers coming back to Apple. More iPhones, more developers and more apps to download. Apple's got a vicious cycle going. I've read Verizon is going to give corporate clients first shot at pre-ordering iPhones so hopefully that will boost sales right away. Go, Apple.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    -3

    anecdote

    I was in a Verizon store last night. There were two kids there, both playing with the iPads like it was a game store and they were playing the demo XBox or Wii. The opposite side of the store, two Galaxy Tabs. Nobody touched them. I did check them out, I could see how the size beats iPad, the iPad seems a bit large and G-Tab would be more convenient for, say, use in the car. (not while driving!). It's a lot more portable than iPad. I would encourage Apple to think about an iPad mini...

  1. revco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +3

    4.1m. Nice.

    Maybe Apple could ship a few more to Virgin Mobile in Australia. I've been waiting for nearly three months for them to become available again.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011

    0

    comment title

    I was one of them! I ordered my new 4 on January 26th, completely knowing there was gonna be a Verizon iPhone, also knowing it would use a CDMA network and cost more.

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