updated 08:40 am EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
ATT Q3 2011 shows dip in iPhone before update
AT&T posted results for this summer that showed it as one of the most significantly hurt by the wait for the iPhone 4S. It activated 2.7 million iPhones over the period, down almost a million over 3.6 million in the spring. The iPhone still dominated AT&T's sales at over 56 percent of the 4.8 million that had traded hands, although this was down slightly from 60 percent.
The company had a net subscriber gain of 2.1 million customers and, for the first time, passed 100 million total subscribers to hit 100.7 million. Verizon had passed the amount last year. Some of AT&T's activations were helped by taking on ex-Centennial and some Alltel customers, and slightly over one million were "connected devices" that include tablets and other non-phones.
Dependence on the iPhone may have cut into its total revenue and profits, although these were skewed by one-off profits. Its total revenue was down very slightly from year to year, to $31.5 billion, and its net profit was cut to about a third, at $3.6 billion from $12.3 billion. Selling off Sterling Commerce and a tax settlement gave it the much higher numbers, although it would have still seen its earnings per share climb by about 13 percent.
The carrier's increasing attempts to prove its independence from Apple have come mostly as a reaction to increasing competition. It already had to compete with Verizon earlier this year and now has to compete with Sprint and C Spire. AT&T is just this month seeing its first completely new iPhone launch where it's not the only carrier and, in the long term, may see customers leave for another carrier that wouldn't have left for the earlier iPhone 4.