updated 08:20 am EDT, Thu July 21, 2011
ATT reduces dependency on iPhone in Q2
AT&T saw its iPhone activations level off in its spring results on Thursday. It switched on 3.6 million of the devices, the same amount as in winter. About 24 percent of those were converts from other carriers or new to cellphones.
The carrier at the same time revealed a reduced dependency on Apple as its source of smartphone units. Non-iPhone sales, primarily Android phones like the Motorola Atrix 4G or the HTC Inspire 4G, doubled over the course of the past year and now made up more than 40 percent of AT&T's smartphone units. AT&T moved a total of 5.6 million smartphones and now counted on them for 70 percent of its subscription phone sales.
AT&T also effectively revealed its iPad subscriber numbers. It added 377,000 tablet data users, almost all of which were Apple's device with virtually non-existent support for other platforms. About 30 percent of those were people with regular, recurring subscriptions likely going to corporate or otherwise very frequent users. The expansion was AT&T's best ever for non-phones and pushed it up to a total of four million active devices.
The company still depended heavily on iPhones to keep its subscriber numbers up and added a net 1.1 million to hit 98.6 million total; 331,000 of those were direct cellphone subscribers where the rest were a mix of those from resellers, prepaid, and non-phone hardware.
Profit was still high at AT&T at $3.6 billion, though not quite as high as a year earlier.
AT&T's performance suggests it may be able to hold its own in spite of Verizon. Its real test is expected to come with an iPhone 5 launch by September. Some AT&T customers are believed to be waiting on a truly new iPhone before switching providers while some Verizon subscribers have been saving upgrades for the update.