AT&T Poised to Shatter Quarterly Smartphone Sales Record on iPhone 4S Surge

att logoAT&T today announced that it sold approximately 6 million smartphones during the first two months of the fourth quarter, already approaching the company's record for quarterly sales of 6.1 million units set in the third quarter of last year. In particular, AT&T credits the strong performance of the iPhone 4S for the sales boost.

AT&T’s strong smartphone sales in part reflect a higher number of handset upgrades from customers who were waiting for the launch of a new iPhone. AT&T previously announced that it activated more than 1 million iPhone 4S’ in the first five days the device was available. AT&T said iPhone 4S sales remain strong.

AT&T's press release was accompanied by a regulatory filing noting that the strong sales will result in a negative impact on near-term earnings as the carrier absorbs the large subsidies it pays out for each handset. But beyond the short-term hit to earnings, the company expects those sales to result in improved performance over the long-term as it recoups those subsidies over the two-year terms of customers' service contracts.

The higher number of upgrades indicates that customers have continued to stay with AT&T in record numbers even in a very competitive environment, with more carriers than ever selling the iPhone. Also consistent with AT&T’s earlier guidance, these record smartphone sales are expected to have a near-term negative impact on margins and therefore earnings. However, AT&T expects that these postpaid customers over time will benefit the Company as, historically, postpaid customers produce stable revenue, reflecting their contract term, and higher average revenue per subscriber, including stronger data usage, than other customer categories.

In addition to the iPhone 4S, AT&T also offers the new 8 GB iPhone 4 and is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone 3GS. Those lower-end devices have also proven popular with customers, continuing to drive sales growth for the carrier.

Top Rated Comments

dvdlovr24 Avatar
122 months ago
LOL at American mobile phone contracts lining AT&T's pockets.

$2000 / 2 years

:rolleyes:

I've never understood this argument. You have to pay a carrier to get service. So I don't see the problem with staying for two years and not having to pay the full price of the phone. It's not like I get a cheaper monthly rate if I pay full price for my phone.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Diode Avatar
122 months ago
All the carriers in the US are pretty similar. The hatred towards ATT specifically makes no sense. If you want to be an equal opportunity disgruntled customer that's another matter.

Yea sorry if I wasn't clear - I meant cell service in general in the US. They have little incentive to pass savings on to the consumer because there is virtually no competition with how fragmented the networks are.

Thus we pay high fees for crappy service.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dgree03 Avatar
122 months ago
but no one balks when Apple makes record profits/has premium pricing for their hardware? Ok....

That would require rational. We both know that is scarce around this part of the internetz
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Risasi Avatar
122 months ago
I haven't noticed any worse service, not that it's generally as good as Verizon. But honestly, all cell companies are a pain in the butt...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dgree03 Avatar
122 months ago
While I would love to pay less - with a FAN discount I am paying about $70 a month. That's 1680 for two years. Now factor that I paid 199 for my phone and I'm guessing that ATT's "price" is - let's say 600. So that's 1280 they are getting for "service" - appx 54 a month. For unlimited data/450 minutes I see that as "ok"

But that's my scenario.

I dont understand why people always talk about cost by adding the total amount over 2 years?

It seems that would not matter because ANY SMARTPHONE you buy will be subject to the same cost. Carriers don't discount service for buying a phone full price. So smart people should always buy on contract unless(like me) they like switching phone services and phones frequently. To me cost over 2 years is irrelevant, if I want a smartphone I gotta pay. Its that simple.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
122 months ago
The difference being - cell service in the US is a borderline government supported monopoly.

People pay the premium because they favor the computer over one from Dell, IBM, Alien the list goes on.

People pay this to AT&T because they have little other choices.

You can't start a new GSM carrier in the US because the FCC won't allow it. You can easily start a new computer company. The threat of entry is why Apple continues to innovate (and drive huge profits) while AT&T drags it's feet and can still pull record profits.


All the carriers in the US are pretty similar. The hatred towards ATT specifically makes no sense. If you want to be an equal opportunity disgruntled customer that's another matter.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...