AT&T wireless subscribers hit 95.5 million, besting Verizon

Carrier reports best-ever subscriber gains, just before its iPhone exclusive deal ends

AT&T reported Thursday it had 95.5 million wireless subscribers at the end of 2010, putting it ahead of Verizon Wireless, which reported earlier this week that it had 94.1 million.

AT&T said it added more than 2.8 million wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010, it's best-ever increase. It also had 8.9 million wireless subscriber additions for all of 2010, another record.

The two biggest U.S. wireless carriers are in a constant battle for subscribers , even as the market for new smartphone and other wireless users becomes saturated. They have traded the first place spot before, and newer tablet computers coming to market as well as Verizon's sale of the iPhone 4 starting Feb. 10 will keep the horse race alive. In the third quarter, Verizon had 93.2 million wireless subscribers, ahead of AT&T's 92.8 million.

AT&T was expected to finish 2010 ahead of Verizon in subscribers as AT&T's exclusive for the iPhone nears an end. Verizon will sell the iPhone 4 on its CDMA/EV-DO network and estimates it will sell 11 million iPhones through 2011.

It's not clear how many new subscribers Verizon will gain from AT&T because of the Verizon iPhone, or if Verizon's biggest gains with iPhones will come from elsewhere, including Verizon customers moving up from using less sophisticated phones.

The fallout over AT&T's losing its exclusivity with the iPhone could be 10 per cent or more, analysts said, but it won't happen all at once since customers might wait until their two-year agreements expire. A recent ChangeWave survey of 4,000 U.S. consumers said 26 per cent of iPhone customers would leave AT&T for Verizon, citing dropped calls and poor reception on AT&T's network.

AT&T is holding an earnings call with analysts later Thursday and the question of subscribers losses over iPhone is expected to come up.

AT&T also said its revenues reached $31.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up 2.1 per cent over the fourth quarter in 2009. In wireless, revenues grew by 9.9 per cent in the fourth quarter. The carrier focused on non-iPhone device sales in its quarterly highlights as well, noting its iPad and Android -based tablets increased by 442,000.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphoneswirelessAppleNetworkingtelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsat&twireless networkingMobile and WirelessMacintoshVerizon Wireless

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

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?