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iPhone Drives AT&T's Record-Smashing Quarter for Smartphone Sales with 7.6 Million Activations

AT&T today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2011, revealing that the carrier saw record-smashing sales of 9.4 million smartphones, nearly double the previous quarter's sales and 50% higher than the company's previous record. The iPhone was clearly the primary driver of smartphone sales for AT&T, as the carrier reported 7.6 million iPhone activations during that quarter, with the "majority" of those activations being iPhone 4S devices.
In the fourth quarter, the company set a new record with 9.4 million smartphones sold, nearly double the number sold in the third quarter and 50 percent more than the previous quarterly record. Fourth-quarter smartphone sales represented more than 80 percent of postpaid device sales. Both iPhone and Android device sales set records. During the quarter, more than 7.6 million iPhones were activated, the majority of which were iPhone 4S, which went on sale Oct. 14, and more than twice as many Android smartphones were sold versus the fourth quarter a year ago. iPhone sales were helped by a superior customer experience, with AT&T delivering download speeds up to three-times faster than on other U.S. carriers' networks.
The iPhone and total smartphone numbers can not be directly compared, however, as the "activations" number AT&T reports for iPhones includes used devices activated on new contracts such as when a user's old device is sold or given away upon upgrading.


AT&T also touts its lead over Verizon in iPhone activations, noting that it has continued to easily outpace Verizon every quarter since AT&T lost exclusivity on the iPhone in early 2011.


Finally, AT&T notes that it has continued to improve its voice and data network, with more than 80% of data traffic now coming over the carrier's enhanced backhaul that allows for "4G" speeds on devices supporting at least HSPA+, such as the iPhone 4S. The carrier also reports that "call retainability", an inverse measure of dropped call rates, has continued to increase and was over 99% throughout the quarter for 3G connections on a nationwide basis.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

33 months ago
So people don't actually care about 4G and 4" screens? Hmmm, didn't see that coming. :rolleyes:
Rating: 15 Votes
33 months ago

Actually I do and got the 4s since I had no other choice as I wanted an iphone. Don't forget, if you like iOS you have to use whatever Apple doles out, there is no choice.


The point being made is that 4G and 4 inch screens are not a necessity like some androids say it is, nor is it something that obviously will hurt iPhone's sales as androids swore it would.
Rating: 9 Votes
33 months ago

So people don't actually care about 4G and 4" screens? Hmmm, didn't see that coming. :rolleyes:


4G or not ... I'm not complaining with 6mb/s!

Still dislike AT&T as a company. Only offer an unlimited texting plan? Wtf? And those data plans..

And I'm actually fine with 3.5" too. iPhone is optimized with it and I never felt that it feels small. I know others feel differently but I'm just stating my opinion.
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago

4G or not ... I'm not complaining with 6mb/s!

Still dislike AT&T as a company. Only offer an unlimited texting plan? Wtf? And those data plans..

And I'm actually fine with 3.5" too. iPhone is optimized with it and I never felt that it feels small. I know others feel differently but I'm just stating my opinion.


Yeah, it's a form factor that works for many millions of people. Of course some people would like a bigger screen, or faster speeds but these are not things that determine what people buy, nor does it make an android phone better then an iPhone. The numbers speak for themselves
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago

That's power. A single vendor can virtually make or break a carrier.


I know. Makes me laugh when I see comments like this:

Riiiight. Apple made a CDMA phone so it could be on Verizon.

If it came down to scorched earth policy, apple needs the carriers more than the carriers need apple. If the carriers decide one day to stop selling iphone then apple is screwed. Without the carriers cooperation no one will buy an iphone. Verizon would be more than happy selling its own branded droids to everyone.


LOL! Classic example of another "supposed expert" here to clear up any misunderstandings us Apple users have about Apple's success. I have never seen so many "supposed experts" in one place like I do here. :rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Votes
33 months ago
I am clearly in the minority, but I have 0 problems with AT&T so I'm glad to see that they are still activating all these phones. Now let's get real 4G rolling out this year!
Rating: 5 Votes
33 months ago
Good for AT&T. Now work on getting a much more reliable connection, or one that works when iphone reports a FULL signal yet no connectivity.
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

I know. Makes me laugh when I see comments like this:



LOL! Classic example of another "supposed expert" here to clear up any misunderstandings us Apple users have about Apple's success. I have never seen so many "supposed experts" in one place like I do here. :rolleyes:


So far you are behaving like one of those self proclaimed experts that you are writing about.

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Uh-Oh, brace yourself, any minute the self-proclaimed Windows/Android experts will be here to clear up any misunderstandings us Apple users have about Apple's success. I am glad these folks are here to help us out. There must be a good explanation of why my iPhone "just works", looks better than the ugly POS Androids out there, is not full of malware, and is by far the best smart phone. :rolleyes:


There u go again with your "expertise"
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

So people don't actually care about 4G and 4" screens? Hmmm, didn't see that coming. :rolleyes:



Actually I do and got the 4s since I had no other choice as I wanted an iphone. Don't forget, if you like iOS you have to use whatever Apple doles out, there is no choice.
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

Yeah, it's a form factor that works for many millions of people. Of course some people would like a bigger screen, or faster speeds but these are not things that determine what people buy, nor does it make an android phone better then an iPhone. The numbers speak for themselves


Uh-Oh, brace yourself, any minute the self-proclaimed Windows/Android experts will be here to clear up any misunderstandings us Apple users have about Apple's success. I am glad these folks are here to help us out. There must be a good explanation of why my iPhone "just works", looks better than the ugly POS Androids out there, is not full of malware, and is by far the best smart phone. :rolleyes:
Rating: 3 Votes

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