iPhone Activations Drop 43% at AT&T, But Represent 60% of Total Postpaid Phone Sales


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

AT&T today announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2012, revealing that it activated 4.3 million iPhones during the quarter. The number marks a substantial drop from the 7.6 million iPhones activated last quarter for the launch of the iPhone 4S, but still easily tops Verizon's 3.2 million iPhones sold during the first quarter.
Both Android and iPhone device sales remain strong. iPhone sales were helped by AT&T's 4G network, which lets iPhone 4S download three-times faster than other U.S. carriers' networks. In the quarter, the company activated 4.3 million iPhones, with 21 percent new to AT&T.
While AT&T's activations and sales can not quite be directly compared because activations includes used devices being reactivated on new accounts, AT&T has told us that this is a small difference. Consequently, AT&T's 4.3 million iPhone activations likely corresponds to approximately 75% of its total smartphone sales of 5.5 million units for the quarter.

Even more impressively, the continued trend toward smartphone adoption means that the iPhone is representing a growing proportion of total phone sales (smartphone and non-smartphone) at AT&T. The carrier notes that smartphones represented more than 78% of its total phone sales to postpaid customers, meaning that the iPhone accounted for roughly 60% of AT&T's total phone sales to those customers during the quarter.

The significant drop in iPhone activations for AT&T combined with the significant drop at Verizon are weighing on Apple's stock this morning, with the already-weakened share price down another $10 as trading opens for the day. But while investors appear nervous about Apple's iPhone sales numbers for the quarter, the primary driver will be international sales as Apple increased distribution during the quarter. China is by far the largest component to that equation, with the iPhone 4S not only having launched on China Unicom early in the quarter but also having been added by China Telecom in early March.

Apple will report its quarterly financial results after the close of trading today, at approximately 4:30 PM Eastern Time.

Article Link: iPhone Activations Drop 43% at AT&T, But Represent 60% of Total Postpaid Phone Sales


macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2010
I thought Sprint would be doing better than this.

They are the last ones left with unlimited data plans


macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
Lincoln, UK
I wouldn't call the Apple share price "already-weakened". It had a recent bubble that is correcting itself.

EDIT: I was referring to a mini bubble and correction within an upward trend. "already-weakened" sounds as if Apple stock is performing poorly when that very far from the truth. Sorry for not being clearer.
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macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2003
Time to hurry up and get that next iPhone out the door.
Because??? The next iPhone will be out a year from the 4S -- Sept/October

If for no other reason, Apple needs low power LTE chips from Qualcomm which won't ship in quantity before then.


macrumors 65816
Jan 28, 2009
I thought Sprint would be doing better than this.

They are the last ones left with unlimited data plans
Well keep in mind that new activations don't mean new customers/phone lines. A lot of the activations on AT&T/Verizon could be on existing unlimited data plans.


macrumors 68020
Jan 2, 2011
I thought Sprint would be doing better than this.

They are the last ones left with unlimited data plans
Because this "unlimited data" plan operates at speeds most carriers consider to be throttled speeds.

It's not just about the quantity of calls/SMS/data but also the quality and speed of the connection. Infact I'll say quality is more important here in Australia, the telstra network, which is by far the best charges about $20 more a month for what you get on other carriers but because their speed an reliability is much better they still have the biggest marketshare.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2008
maybe the drop in sales is in anticipation of the next gen iPhone
I would say it was iPhone saturation. Do many people have the phone. And in business you have to keep selling the same sh** over and over again. Apple and all them players in this game know the drill.


macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
Geez those sales suck. Probably has something to do with how few new features were unveiled with the 4S.


macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
Even more impressively, the continued trend toward smartphone adoption
how is this surprising? Have you been in an AT&T or Verizon store lately? They have maybe a half-dozen basic phones. My wife is in need of an upgrade but not willing to pay $30/month for a data plan that she will barely use. The cheapest basic phone at our local Verizon store was $80. For a piece of junk. For $20 more she could get an iPhone 4. All the "free" phones are droids. So she decided to wait for the 'promised' shared data to see what that costs.

My point is, consumers don't think long term. They think up front costs. "Free" phone gets them. So $80 for a basic phone or "free" for a droid. Droid wins.


macrumors 6502a
May 20, 2007
Looks higher than it's been in the last year with exception to the obvious holiday quarter, and of course there's going to be a drop after having a massive quarter like that. Look for the same pattern this year.

Rinse, repeat, continue enjoying the iPhone.


macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
South Orange, NJ
I stocked up on shares yesterday. That hasn't rarely been a bad decision in recent times, and given these numbers it's looking good. The ridiculous thing about following Apple stock is that you know they will beat their own guidance. So the market never looks at that, they add a percentage uptick on that every time. I just don't seem momentum slowing down compared to last year's quarter. Maybe some softness in Mac sales due to people waiting on the refresh– I can anecdotally support that one.


macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2008
Blazer town!
hmmm, forgot about the holiday quarter so that make sense.

last quarter was block buster but this quarter normal ...
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macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2006
Compare Q1 2012 with Q1 2011. 20% growth on AT&T. Q4 was a holiday quarter and the quarter with iPhone 4S. Of course the numbers were higher.


macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2010
I guess I don't see the big deal, why wouldn't sales be down compared to a holiday quarter?

Yr Blues

macrumors 68020
Jan 14, 2008
a few years ago smart phones were novel, now everyone's on their second or third one. people are getting bored and the global economy is not what it used to be. unless there's a revolutionary new iphone … and not just a minor upgrade … people will be less likely to care.