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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 roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
So people don't actually care about 4G and 4" screens? Hmmm, didn't see that coming. :rolleyes:
Rating: 11 Votes
35 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: 6 Votes
35 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
35 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
35 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: 5 Votes
35 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: 3 Votes
35 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.

----------

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: 3 Votes
35 months ago
Combined with Verizon and Sprint (numbers later, probably pocket change), this is likely the proof that iOS surpassed all the Android vendors combined in the US in Q4. Of course the Android vendors don't consistently publish numbers.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html

Speaking about "news and rumors you care about"---this is something that we SHOULD care about.


Thank you for the link. Keep in mind that unsafe working conditions abroad, and in Apple's vendor's factories are really hard to police. Compare Apple's position to OSHA's position. In the U.S. OSHA, a government entity, still finds hundreds (if not thousands) of unsafe conditions in U.S. factories each year. In addition, hundreds and hundreds of workers in the U.S. are killed in work-related accidents.

Now if our government cannot bring these numbers to zero within the U.S., what kind of success should we expect Apple to have with foreign vendors? You might say, "Well Apple can threaten to cut off business with those vendors." What if those vendors represent the BEST compliance with safety standards within Apple's alternate vendor options?

In addition Apple is also trying to effect change within a culture of skirting rules and low regard for employee safety. I think Apple is tightening the vice on requiring compliance, but any change will be incremental and not rapid.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago

I'm glad that three out of the four main carriers have iPhones now. I would not want everyone on my carrier, Verizon, to overload it. I do IT for a living and from my own experience asking people what their experience is with their carrier where I live, New Orleans, AT&T is the worst. The biggest issue regardless of phone brand is garbled audio and dropped calls.

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/southeast/

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/northeast/

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/north-central/

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/mid-atlantic/

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/southwest/

http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/wireless-network-quality-ratings-(volume-2)/west/


I live in Kansas City and Sprint who has it's billion dollar HQ here is horrible, Verizon is ok in most area's over a 50 or 60 square mile metro, but data speeds are horrible. I've had AT&T since it purchased Cingular some 7 or 8 years ago and have had great service. The data speeds on 3G even prior to the 4S in early 2010 was pushing 2.5 to 3mbits and on the 4S have seen upwards of 4mbits down. Call quality has never been an issue except the usual dead spots, which of the three AT&T has the least here in Kansas City.

Point being... every person in every city will have a different experience. I don't care what any commercials or survey's show each carrier has their great markets and their crappy ones. This debate of who is best is retarded, use the service that is best in your market. It's really that simple.
Rating: 2 Votes

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