updated 08:05 am EST, Thu January 26, 2012
ATT has record iPhones but takes loss on T-Mobile
AT&T on Thursday marked very mixed results from its fall quarter that were partly self-inflicted. The season marked its best ever for smartphones, owed primarily to the iPhone 4S launch. About 7.6 million iPhones were activated out of the 9.4 million smartphones sold, making Apple's platform 80 percent of AT&T's customer base.
A "majority" of those iPhones were the iPhone 4S, AT&T said. Android sales were also at a new high for a fall quarter and had doubled their year-ago performance, but the sheer volume of iPhone demand had cut Android's ratio by half or more. The 7.6 million was nearly three times larger than the 2.7 million of the summer.
The figure kept it ahead of Verizon's 4.2 million iPhones and showed that the iPhone on other carriers was primarily taking share that would have gone to Android, BlackBerry, or other platforms.
Roughly 56.8 percent of AT&T's 69.3 million regular subscription cellphone owners were using smartphones, now making them the majority versus 42.7 percent from fall 2010. The network accordingly saw a 10 percent increase in pure wireless revenue, a 19.4 percent boost to its data revenues, and a 1.4 percent boost to the average revenue per person. It did see churn climb slightly to 1.21 percent from 1.15, although it noted that this was also the first holiday season since it had to compete against other US carriers with iPhones.
Many of the successes were negated overall, however, by one-time factors stemming from its own decisions. AT&T saw a net loss of $6.7 billion owed largely to the $4 billion it had to pay T-Mobile as part of the conditions for its dropped takeover bid. Also factoring in was a high payout relating to benefit plans. The company would likely have turned a profit otherwise.