AT&T: Android Sales Pick Up iPhone Slack, Boost Subscriber Numbers

By Josh Long Comments
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AT&T on Thursday said sales of Android-powered gadgets represented nearly half of the 4.8 million smartphones the telecommunications titan sold in the third quarter as the number of iPhone activations declined.

Sales of smartphones that incorporate Google’s three-year-old operating system, Android, more than doubled year over year. Meanwhile, AT&T activated 2.7 million iPhones, down from 3.6 million activations in the previous quarter. AT&T activations of Apple’s popular smartphone could grow in the fourth quarter now that the wireless giant has begun selling the newly released iPhone 4S.

In the third quarter, AT&T – the nation’s second-largest wireless provider behind Verizon Wireless – courted 2.1 million customers to reach a total of 100.7 million in service. That included 319,000 new subscribers on contract, 239,000 prepaid customers, 473,000 reseller customers and 1.038 million connected device additions such as sales of automobile monitoring systems and security systems.

More than half (52.6 percent) of AT&T’s 68.6 million postpaid subscribers use smartphones, up from 39.1 percent a year earlier. Such growth is important to AT&T because it significantly improves its sales: The carrier revealed that average revenue per user (ARPU) for smartphones on its network is 1.9 times that of the company’s non smartphone devices.

Thanks to data growth, postpaid subscriber ARPU rose 1.4 percent vs. the year-earlier to $63.69.

Meanwhile, postpaid churn remained constant. It was 1.15 percent last quarter compared to 1.15 percent in the previous quarter and 1.14 percent in the year-ago quarter.

In the consumer wireline business, AT&T reported a fifth straight year-over-year growth thanks to its U-Verse services. But the growth was negligible. Revenues from residential customers grew to $5.3 billion, up 0.2 percent versus the third quarter a year ago.

AT&T U-Verse TV added 176,000 subscribers to reach 3.6 million in service while the company added 504,000 U-Verse high-speed Internet customers to end the quarter with 4.6 million subscribers. Total consumer revenue connections fell as a result of a continuing decline in traditional phone lines, reflecting an industry trend that has been ongoing for several years as a result of alternatives like wireless and Internet-based calling.

Business revenues at AT&T ($9.3 billion) declined 2.7 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. 

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2011, AT&T reported consolidated revenues of $31.5 billion while net income attributable to the company totaled $3.6 billion or $0.61 per diluted share.

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