Verizon announced it activated 9.8 million smartphones during the holiday 2012 fourth quarter. In a statement to federal regulators, the nation’s largest carrier said there was a “higher mix of smartphones”, causing some observers to believe the wireless provider sold more than 5.3 million iPhones during the three-month period.

Rival AT&T yesterday told the Securities and Exchange Commission it sold 10 million smartphones during the fourth quarter, prompting one analyst to suggest the Dallas-based carrier sold at least eight million Apple handsets…

Today’s figures from Verizon could indicate the fourth quarter of 2012 was a record year for iPhone sales by the carrier. By comparison, during the same period in 2011 Verizon activated 7.7 million smartphones, 4.2 million of those iPhones.

“If Apple were to have secured the same share of activations in 2012, it would mean 5.3 million iPhones were sold through Verizon”AppleInsider writes.

Due to the tight-lipped nature of Verizon’s SEC 8-K filing, it’s unknown whether “higher mix of Apple smartphones” refers to year-over-year or sequential comparison. If compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, the carrier would have 54.5 percent of iPhone sales.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ZwpJ3i-r0

But compared to the previous quarter, in September, Verizon would  only have 46 percent of iPhone activations. Verizon is scheduled to announce its fourth quarter earnings on January 22. Sprint has yet to report its smartphone activation numbers.

T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier, will begin selling the iPhone  in the next three to four month, according to Reuters.

The carrier already has 1.9 million subscribers with iPhones and we have reasons to believe the Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier is actually Apple’s exclusive launch partner for the rumored less-pricey, iPhone mini.