Verizon and AT&T combine to sell 5.8 million iPhones in Q1 2011

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Verizon and AT&T combine to sell 5.8 million iPhones in Q1 2011

This morning Verizon released its quarterly earnings for Q1 2011. While the wireless carrier did not reveal its iPhone sales figure in the press release, its earnings conference call confirms Verizon sold 2.2 million iPhones in its first six weeks of sales (compared to the 3.6 million reported by AT&T for the first three months of 2011, a 2x longer period). Combined, Verizon and AT&T sold 5.8 million iPhones, which means that total US sales account for about 30 percent of the 18.6 million Apple sold worldwide in the quarter. Apple COO/acting CEO Tim Cook mentioned on yesterday's Apple earnings call that US sales were up 155 percent year-over-year, and iPhone sales in greater China were up 250 percent versus the year-ago quarter (both leading the curve of 113 percent growth in total sales).

According to AT&T, its iPhone churn rate remained steady in the 1st quarter, which suggests most Verizon iPhone sales come from current Verizon Wireless customers who waited patiently for the carrier to land the iPhone. It will be interesting to see how these numbers play out over the next year and a half. A growing number of AT&T iPhone customers will come off their current 2-year contracts and have a choice of carriers. Will the Verizon iPhone lead to a mass exodus from AT&T, as theorized, or will AT&T continue to hold its own? How many would-be carrier jumpers will wait for the hypothetical autumn release of the iPhone 5?

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