AT&T Earnings May Represent Carrier's Last Big iPhone Gains
On Thursday, AT&T reported earnings from the forth quarter of 2010, revealing total revenue of $31.4 billion, an increase of just over 2% from one year earlier. The growth was led by the rapid expansion of smartphone ownership and strong sales of the iPhone 4 - the last quarter in which represented AT&T's final stand as the Apple smartphone's exclusive US carrier.
AT&T activated 4.1 million iPhones in Q4. As a result, Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, called the quarterly results "strong" and indicative of how his company's mobile broadband growth "set the pace for the industry." Although Stephenson noted in an earnings conference call that AT&T is poised to grow profits further in the US as the economic turmoil of recent years has faded, AT&T now has more to concern itself with than a recession. The Verizon iPhone is coming. And AT&T will certainly feel the effects.
Ahead of Verizon's long-anticipated launch of the iPhone next week, the nation's largest mobile operator is reportedly angling to lure in some of AT&T's older customers into Verizon territory with a prospective trade-in offer that may be too attractive for many to refuse. As Nick reported
this morning on MMi, Verizon is allowing some existing AT&T iPhone customers to trade-in their iPhone for credit when buying a new Verizon iPhone 4. Consequently, the buzz surrounding the Verizon iPhone and the obvious loss of business looming for AT&T has led many Wall Street and tech analysts to believe that AT&T's iPhone sales and rate of iPhone activation will dramatically slow beginning next month.