AT&T activates 1.6M iPhones in Q1

Apple may have sold 4M iPhones worldwide, says analyst

AT&T Inc. Wednesday said that it activated more than 1.6 million iPhones in the first quarter, one reason the company's net income didn't fall even more than the 9% it reported.

The telecommunications firm said it had boosted its wireless subscriber base by 1.2 million during the first three months of 2009, more than half of them new customers brought to its network by the iPhone 3G. More than 40% of the 1.6 million new iPhone activations were customers previously not with AT&T.

AT&T also trumpeted the iPhone's contribution to its longer-term standing, claiming that its iPhone subscribers generate an average monthly revenue per subscriber (ARPU) that's 1.6 times higher than the company's overall subscriber base. The "churn" rate -- the rate at which subscribers fall away and are replaced -- is also significantly less for iPhone owners, the company said.

That's not surprising: AT&T has an exclusive with Apple in the U.S., and is the only mobile carrier authorized to sell the iPhone and provide service.

"I am particularly pleased with the success of our iPhone 3G initiative, which has driven strong high-end customer growth and delivered financial benefits ahead of our original outlook," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement early Wednesday.

AT&T's lock on the iPhone in the U.S. ends in June 2010, according to reports last week, but the company is negotiating to extend the deal at least another year. Analysts, however, have questioned whether Apple is as eager to stay with AT&T only.

"My understanding when the iPhone first came out was that AT&T had a three-year exclusive, with an option to renew for two more years," said Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech. "But I'm not so sure that Apple wants to."

Marshall, who has estimated that Apple will announce later today that it sold 3.15 million iPhones in the first quarter, today said the AT&T numbers were even better than those he had figured into his calculations. "The AT&T activation number of 1.6 million was 30% ahead of my expectations of 1.2 million," Marshall. "That's a very positive data point and gives me more conviction in my Street-high numbers for [the first quarter]."

Typically, AT&T sales account for about 40% of Apple's total iPhone shipments during a quarter, Marshall said. If that holds true, Apple's iPhone sales would be approximately 4 million.

AT&T's revenue of US$30.6 billion for the quarter was down less than 1% from the $3.07 billion it reported during the same period in 2008, the company said today in its earnings statement, while net income fell 9%, down from 2008's $3.5 billion to this year's $3.2 billion. Wireless data revenue, however, was up 39% year-over-year, said AT&T.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleat&tiPhone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?