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AT&T, Verizon Benefit From iPhone, Smartphone Demand


Both AT&T and Verizon
benefitted from demand for Apple’s
iPhone in the fourth quarter (see financial
above) and smartphones in general
for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2011.

AT&T posted a net increase in total
wireless subscribers of 2.5 million in
the fourth quarter, to reach 103.2 million
in service, and the increase reflected
accelerated adoption of smartphones,
including the October launch
of iPhone 4S, sales of tablets and other

AT&T reported its best-ever smartphone
sales quarter — up nearly 60 percent
from the year-ago period, with 9.4
million smartphones sold in Q4. Smartphone
sales in Q4 represented more
than 80 percent of postpaid device
sales, and both iPhone and Android
devices sales set records.

In Q4 more than 7.6 million iPhones
were activated, the majority of which
were iPhone 4S, which went on sale
Oct. 14. More than twice as many Android
smartphones were sold vs. the
fourth quarter a year ago.

Verizon’s activations of 4G devices
and Apple iPhones soared in the fourth
quarter to 2.3 million and 4.3 million,
respectively, with iPhone sales more
than doubling from the third quarter’s
2 million.

Activations of 4G devices rose to
an all-time quarterly high of 2.3 million
from the third quarter’s 1.4 million. The
fourth-quarter number combines 1.6
million 4G smartphones and 700,000
4G data devices.

Overall 3G and 4G smartphone activations
hit 7.7 million in the quarter,
marking the carrier’s best quarter ever
for smartphone activations. Smartphone
activations rose from the third
quarter’s 5.6 million to put the carriers’
installed base of retail-postpaid smartphone
subscribers at 44 percent of the
company’s total postpaid subscriber
base. That’s up from 28 percent in the
fourth quarter of 2010.

But while both AT&T reported higher
wireless and corporate sales during the
quarter, both posted overall losses for
the period. AT&T had consolidated revenues
of $32.5 billion, up $1.1 billion or
3.6 percent year on year, but reported a
loss of $6.7 billion due to several items,
most notably the termination of the TMobile
USA acquisition.

Verizon reported consolidated revenues
of $28.4 billion up 7.7 percent
year on year, but a net loss of $212 million
in the quarter due to the impact of
non-cash pension items compared with
earnings of $4.65 billion in the prior
year. –

Additional reporting by Joseph