Verizon Communications on Thursday revealed its wireless unit activated 2.2 million iPhones in the first quarter and wooed 906,000 retail postpaid customers, far exceeding its chief competitor AT&T in the number of new subscribers that are locked into a retail contract.
Excluding acquisitions and adjustments, Verizon Wireless added 1.8 million connections, bringing to 104 million the total number of connections that the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based mobile operator now serves. Verizon also announced that it activated more than 500,000 fourth-generation wireless devices in the quarter. Roughly 260,000 HTC Thunderbolt smartphones were activated in just a two-week period.
Verizon Wireless, which produced the most successful first-day sales in its history when it began selling the iPhone 4 in February, now serves 88.4 million retail customers and 15.6 million wholesale and other connections.
Some analysts were anticipating that Verizons largest rival, AT&T, would post poor wireless results after losing its exclusive right to sell the iPhone in the United States.
But AT&T managed to activate 3.6 million iPhones and add two million subscribers in the first quarter. However, only 62,000 of AT&Ts new customers were on retail contracts.
Although Verizons anticipated iPhone sales created a buzz in recent months, AT&T made a bigger splash during the quarter when it announced plans to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in a transaction that would knock out one of the nations largest mobile operators.
If the merger is approved by regulators, AT&T and Verizon Wireless would control about 80 percent of all wireless subscribers in the United States.