iPhone sales propel AT&T to record smartphone quarter

25 JAN 2013
iPhone 5

US number-two AT&T reported virtually flat sales in Q4 despite quarterly smartphone sales topping 10 million for the first time.

The operator posted total revenue of $32.6 billion, up just 0.2 percent year-on-year but in line with most expectations.

Like rival Verizon earlier this week, AT&T booked several items in the quarter, including costs related to Superstorm Sandy, which resulted in a $3.9 billion net loss. Excluding the adjustments, the $0.68 per share loss would have been a $0.44 per share profit.

Wireless revenues, including equipment sales, were up 5.7 percent year-on-year to $17.6 billion, while wireless service revenues increased 4.2 percent to $14.9 billion.

AT&T shifted a record 10.2 million smartphones in Q4, which it claimed was “the most ever sold by any US carrier.” Smartphones accounted for 89 percent of postpaid phone sales. This meant that, by the end of the quarter, 69.6 percent (47.1 million) of AT&T’s postpaid phone subscribers now use smartphones.

Smartphone sales were driven by iPhone activations, which hit a record 8.6 million (16 percent new to AT&T). The operator also said it had its “best-ever sales quarter for Android smartphones.”

AT&T posted a net increase in total wireless subscribers of 1.1 million to reach 107 million in total. Postpaid net additions totaled 780,000, the “best gain in 12 quarters.”