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
136 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
136 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
136 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
136 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
136 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
136 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)

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