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AT&T sells 8.6 million iPhones and adds 780,000 postpaid subscribers in Q4 2012

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AT&T logo (STOCK)
AT&T logo (STOCK)

AT&T has just released its Q4 2012 financial report, revealing that it added 780,000 new subscribers during the holiday quarter. Additionally, AT&T announced that it sold 8.6 million iPhones in Q4, up massively from Q3's 4.7 million and even besting last year's record-setting 7.6 million activations. AT&T handily beat its chief rival, Verizon, which recently reported 6.2 million iPhone activations. AT&T had previously revealed that it sold 10.2 million smartphones in Q4, beating its prior record of 9.4 million set in Q4 2011. The carrier says that smartphones accounted for 89 percent of its postpaid sales in the quarter and 69.6 percent of its customers are on smartphone devices.

It only managed to sell 1.6 million units of every other platform

What might be more interesting to note about AT&T's smartphone sales is that even though the carrier moved a record number of iPhones, it only managed to sell 1.6 million units of every other platform, including Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry devices. The iPhone has long been AT&T's bread and butter, and it doesn't look like that will be changing any time soon. AT&T did note that Q4 was its best ever quarter for Android smartphone sales, despite the fact that they were greatly overshadowed by its iPhone sales.

The company reported $17.6 billion in wireless revenues, but as a whole, still managed to lose $3.9 billion. On the bright side, that's significantly less than the $6.7 billion it lost last year due to its failed attempt to purchase T-Mobile. The carrier says that the loss this time around was due to a restructuring of its pension plans and the greater number of subsidies it had to pay out for all of the smartphones it sold in the quarter, as well as the costs incurred by Hurricane Sandy's impact. In the long run, the higher rate plans paid by smartphone customers will make up for the initial investment that AT&T has to make to cover the subsidy costs.

For the year as a whole, AT&T reported total revenues of $127.4 billion and profits of $7.3 billion. It added 3.8 million subscribers over the year, bringing it to a total of 107 million across all of its services. It also revealed that it has 6.6 million users on its new Mobile Share plans, and more than two-thirds of its postpaid smartphone customers are on tiered data plans, up from 56 percent a year ago. That figure certainly isn't something that makes those of us that long for the good old days of unlimited data happy, but it certainly does increase AT&T's bottom line.

AT&T will have a conference call later today to discuss the financial report in detail; we'll be sure to let you know if anything of note is brought up during the call.