updated 08:30 am EDT, Thu July 22, 2010
ATT spring 2010 has best ever iPhones and net adds
AT&T today reported one of its best spring quarters ever as Apple again proved essential to its growth. Thanks to the iPhone 4 launch, the carrier activated the most iPhones it ever has in a spring quarter, jumping to 3.2 million iPhones from 2.4 million a year ago. It also had its best net customer additions for the season, but with 1.6 million total new customers owed more than half of that growth to Apple; 27 percent of iPhone activations, or 864,000, were for those new to AT&T.
The network now has 90.1 million total customers, or just a small jump away from Verizon's most recently reported 92.8 million.
The iPhone may have also contributed to new records for customer turnover: its total churn of old customers for new dropped to 1.29 percent and just 1.01 percent for regular postpaid subscriptions, which are required for iPhones. AT&T pointed to the smartphone having a similar impact on its cellular revenues, as there was a 10.3 percent year-to-year jump in overall revenues, a 27.2 percent jump in data revenues, and a slight 3.4 percent boost in the average revenue per subscriber.
AT&T remains optimistic about the rest of 2010 and expects the year to be "strong" compared to 2009. It had previously expected only stable or slightly improved results.
The hopes may be clouded by the first signs that AT&T's exclusivity period with the iPhone is coming to an end. A Verizon iPhone has been rumored shipping as soon as the fall or by early 2011. A competitive threat may come sooner if rumors of a T-Mobile iPhone by the fall prove true. While a much smaller carrier, T-Mobile may draw significant numbers of customers away in areas where AT&T service is still problematic, such as New York City and San Francisco.