The wireless carrier overtook Verizon Wireless as the nation's largest wireless carrier last year, with 95.5 million subscribers versus Verizon's 94.1 million. In its last pre-iPhone quarter, Verizon added only 955,000 subscribers, almost one third less than its rival AT&T. With the iPhone 4 slated to land on Verizon in February, the two carriers may jockey for this #1 position over the next few months.
Tablets were also a strong performer for AT&T in Q4 2010. The carrier activated 442,000 tablets in Q4 2010, which include both the Apple iPad and Android tablets such as the Dell Streak and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Both the iPhone and iPad contributed to AT&T's 27.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues, up $1.1 billion from the year-earlier quarter.
Looking ahead, AT&T expects continued subscriber gains and strong smartphone sales. AT&T admits that reliable projections may be difficult to make due to volatility from the Verizon iPhone. While iPhone activations may decline, the carrier expects Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets as well as tablet devices, like the iPad, to pick up the slack.
AT&T Reports Record 2.8 Million Wireless Net Adds, Strong U‑verse Sales, Continued Revenue Gains in the Fourth Quarter
Dallas, Texas, January 27, 2011
• $0.18 diluted EPS, $0.55 excluding significant items; compared to $0.46 diluted EPS and $0.50 per diluted share when excluding significant items in the year-earlier period
• Consolidated revenues of $31.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up $653 million, or 2.1 percent, versus the year-earlier period
• 9.9 percent growth in wireless revenues, with a 9.6 percent increase in wireless service revenues
• Best-ever wireless net adds, with a more than 2.8 million increase in total wireless subscribers to reach 95.5 million subscribers in service; full-year wireless net adds totaled 8.9 million, the company's best-ever annual total
• Continued expansion in new wireless growth areas; connected devices up a record 1.5 million; iPad- and Android-based tablets up 442,000
• 27.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues, up $1.1 billion versus the year-earlier quarter
• Postpaid subscriber ARPU (average monthly revenues per subscriber) up 2.2 percent to $62.88, the eighth consecutive quarter with a year-over-year increase
• Best-ever fourth-quarter total wireless churn at 1.32 percent; 1.15 percent postpaid churn, matching previous best-ever fourth-quarter level
• Second consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in wireline consumer revenues, driven by AT&T U-verse® services
• 246,000 net gain in AT&T U-verse TV subscribers to reach nearly 3 million in service, with continued high broadband and voice attach rates
• 28.5 percent growth in wireline consumer IP data revenues, driven by AT&T U-verse expansion
• 210,000 net gain in wireline broadband connections
• 17.1 percent growth in revenues from strategic business services such as Ethernet, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), hosting and application services, the largest increase during the year