updated 09:05 am EDT, Fri July 22, 2011
Verizon sees more iPhone demand in spring
Verizon on Friday revealed that iPhone demand was actually up in spring despite a full push from Android. The carrier activated 2.3 million iPhone 4s in spring, up from 2.2 million in winter. The company added 2.2 million total cellphone customers, including 1.3 million of the retail subscribers core to the iPhone and 3G iPads; Apple's support meant Verizon had the best subscriber growth in 2.5 years.
The cellular network now has a total of 106.3 million customers across all its areas.
Data from the company suggested that, in spite of multiple device launches and high publicity, 4G Android phones hadn't caught on in a significant way at the network. Verizon sold a total of 1.2 million LTE-capable devices in the spring but had to split that across not just three separate Android phones, the HTC Thunderbolt, LG Revolution, and Samsung Droid Charge, but also include modems and routers. The data supports analyst claims that the iPhone was more popular at most stores as well as talk of high return rates due to poor 4G battery life.
Apple may have also contributed to a very low 0.89 percent churn (turnover) rate in the regular subscriber base, its lowest in three years. Verizon's revenue was up year-over-year to $27.5 billion even after factoring in a divestiture of networks that had been earning money last year. Its profits were up to 57 cents per share compared to a 42 cents per share loss a year ago.
The figures, combined with AT&T's 3.6 million activations, show the iPhone relatively steady in the US in a quarter that can often see sales drop. They also come in spite of the iPhone 4 having reached its one-year anniversary and competing against much newer devices. Many expect the real test of Verizon having an iPhone will be the fifth-generation launch in or near September, when Verizon customers wanting an iPhone but holding off for the new generation can finally join in.
Along with its performance, Verizon confirmed that its long-serving CEO Ivan Seidenberg was retiring. Current COO Lowell McAdam will take over as of August 1. Seidenberg will stay on as chairman for the near future to help in the transition. Many consider McAdam vital to the company as having been key to finally getting the iPhone onboard and reversing declines from customers switching to AT&T to get Apple's handset.