AT&T activates record 8.6 million iPhones in Q4 2012

AT&T Flaship Chicago Store

Following up reports from Apple and Verizon, AT&T has just released its earnings results for the 2012 holiday quarter. And they actually look pretty good. The carrier sold a record amount of smartphones during the three quarter period, and activated a record amount of iPhones. Full breakdown of the results after the break…

From AT&T’s press release:

  • Wireless revenues up 5.7 percent versus the year-ago quarter; wireless service revenues up 4.2 percent
  • 780,000 wireless postpaid net adds, largest increase in three years; 1.1 million increase in total net wireless subscribers
  • Record smartphone sales of 10.2 million, the most ever sold by any U.S. carrier; postpaid smartphone customer base now 47.1 million, up 2.5 million from third-quarter 2012
  • Smartphones 89 percent of postpaid phone sales
  • Postpaid wireless subscriber ARPU (average monthly revenues per subscriber) up 1.9 percent to $64.98
  • activated a record 8.6 million iPhones, with 16 percent new to AT&T

The fact that smartphones represented 89% of all of AT&T’s postpaid phone sales is a big deal. That means that only 11% of its postpaid customers bought feature, or non-smart, phones. The 10.2 million smartphone sales figure is also huge, as it shatters the company’s previous record of 9 million, set back during last year’s Q4.

Of course, the number we’re most interested is iPhone sales. AT&T activated 8.6 million of them, which accounted for a staggering 84% of its total smartphone mix. That means that out of the 10.2 million smartphones it sold, only 1.6 million of them were from “other” platforms including Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

But there were some asterisks to the carrier’s fourth quarter. For example, despite its $17.6 billion in wireless revenues, it still managed to lose $3.9 billion. The carrier noted that the loss was due to a restructuring of its pension plans, and the higher number of subsidies it had to pay out for all of the smartphones it sold in the quarter.

Over all of 2012, though, AT&T reported $127.4 billion in revenue and $7.3 billion in profit. Not bad. The carrier says it plans to reinvest that money in new spectrum and other facets to boost its network. Earlier this week, it announced a new deal to acquire the remnants of Alltel, which includes spectrum, license and other assets.