AT&T Q3: Android Up, iPhone Down

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Dallas - The number of Android smartphones activated by AT&T rose in its fiscal third quarter compared to the year-ago period, but the number of iPhone activations fell on both a year-over-year and sequential basis, the carrier's financial report shows.

The carrier also said it activated more cellular-embedded computing devices such as tablets compared to the year-ago period.

In other third-quarter financial metrics, the carrier boosted wireless operating income by 31.7 percent to $4.62 billion despite a much smaller 2.8 percent increase in total wireless revenues to $15.6 billion. The operating-income gain followed a meager 1.9 percent gain in the second quarter and a 5.3 percent drop in the first quarter.

The carrier expanded its subscriber base in the third quarter by 2.1 million to achieve a total subscriber base of 100.7 million.

During the quarter, year-over-year iPhone sales fell for the first time during the year, presumably because consumers were holding off for the launch of the long-rumored next-generation iPhone launched just last week.

During the quarter, 2.7 million


were activated, down from the year-ago 5.2 million and down sequentially from 3.6 million in the second quarter.

Second-quarter iPhone activations, in contrast, were up 11 percent to 3.6 million despite the launch of a Verizon iPhone in the first quarter. AT&T's first-quarter iPhone sales hit 3.6 million from the year-ago 2.7 million.

In Android smartphones, AT&T said its Android activations more than doubled year-over-year, but it didn't say whether the overall number of smartphone activations was up. The company, however, did say a total of 4.8 million smartphones were activated in the quarter, representing almost two-thirds of devices activated on postpaid plans.

At the end of the quarter, 52.6 percent of AT&T's 68.6 million postpaid subscribers had smartphones, up from 39.1 percent a year earlier and 31.1 percent two years ago.

In portable computing devices, including tablets sold with AT&T-brand wireless service, the carrier added 505,000 devices to reach 4.5 million in use, or 80 percent more devices in use compared to the year-ago period. Most of the new subscriptions were for tablets, with 290,000 added in the quarter. More than 35 percent of those were postpaid subscriptions.

In other metrics,


he company expanded the number of subscribers in all categories, from postpaid and prepaid to resellers and connected devices, such as Kindles and PNDs for which the carrier itself does not bill users for wireless service. Nonetheless, the total number of net new subscriber additions was down 19.3 percent from the year-ago period, with postpaid net adds falling 57.2 percent to 319,000 and connected-device net adds falling 10.4 percent to 1.04 million.

The number of subscribers on tiered-data plans continued to increase. About 18 million, or nearly half, of all smartphone subscribers are on tiered-data plans.

In another metric, total churn declined to 1.28 percent versus 1.32 percent in the third quarter of 2010 and 1.43 percent in the second quarter of 2011.


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