AT&T's Q3 strong: 6.1 million smartphones, 4.7 million iPhones

Summary:The company added that it activated 4.7 million iPhones and 18 percent of those customers were new to AT&T.

AT&T reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings as it sold 6.1 million smartphones, including 4.7 million iPhones.

The company reported third quarter earnings of $3.6 billion, or 63 cents a share, on revenue of $31.5 billion, flat with a year ago. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 60 cents a share.

AT&T said that it sold 6.1 million smartphones in the third quarter, up 1.3 million from a year ago. The company added that it activated 4.7 million iPhones and 18 percent of those customers were new to AT&T. The company also said it had its best sales quarter for Android and Windows Phone devices, but didn't offer specifics.

AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega said on a conference call that his company's iPhone 5 sales were "about twice our closest competitor." Roughly speaking, that comment translates to 1.3 million iPhone 5 devices in the third quarter.

That said AT&T wants to diversify. De la Vega said:

Our lineup for the fourth quarter include includes several devices using the new Windows 8 operating system, including our exclusive Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820. We will also be the only carrier offering new Windows 8 tablets from ASUS and Samsung. We also added great Android devices to our lineup, the HTC ONE X and the LG Optimus G. And it's not just smartphones and tablets; we also offer the Samsung Galaxy camera.

For comparison, Verizon sold 6.8 million smartphones in the third quarter and 4.5 million were LTE (3.4 million Android). Note: Verizon said that it sold 3.1 million iPhones and 21 percent of them were LTE. That sum implies Verizon added 651,000 iPhone 5 units. The LTE reference includes postpaid additions for Verizon. 

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Meanwhile, the telecom giant has been moving subscribers to tiered data plans. Churn in the third quarter was 1.08 percent on a postpaid basis. Total churn was 1.34 percent up from 1.28 percent in the third quarter a year ago.

Wireless revenue in the third quarter was $16.6 billion, up 6.6 percent from a year ago. AT&T added that its LTE rollout is ahead of schedule.

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On the wireline front, AT&T said that it added 198,000 U-Verse TV subscribers and now has 4.3 million customers. U-Verse Internet customers showed a net gain of 613,000 subscribers in the third quarter to end with 7.1 million customers.

Business revenue in the third quarter was $9.1 billion, down 2.6 percent from a year ago.

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Topics: Networking, 4G, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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