AT&T is on pace to set a record this quarter for number of smartphones sold.
Ralph de la Vega, the carrier's wireless CEO, told investors in New York Wednesday that his company has already sold 6.4 million smartphones through two months of Q4 2012, which would be good enough on its own to be the carrier's second-biggest quarter ever. And he believes the total number sold by AT&T this year will be 26 million, 1 million more than previously thought, CNET reported. Don't forget – most of December, a big buying month, is still ahead of us.
So why the spike in sales? It's not just an improving economy. The industry has seen a number of hot smartphone debuts this quarter. De la Vega specifically mentioned Apple's iPhone 5 (which actually debuted at the end of Q3), the Windows-based Nokia Lumia 920, and the LG Optimus G. The globally popular Samsung Galaxy S III, which launched this past summer, also continues to sell well.
"What we're seeing is tremendous response in the marketplace," de la Vega is quoted as saying. "Excitement is at an all time high. I feel very good about momentum going into December."
De la Vega added that tablet PCs are also selling well, noting that Microsoft's Windows operating system entering the market this fall gives holiday shoppers options beyond Apple's iPad and Android slates such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD.