Wednesday, January 25, 2012

AT&T: iPhone Accounts for 80% of Smartphone Sales

AT&T reported blockbuster mobile broadband sales in Q4 2011 with 9.4 million smartphone activations in the quarter -- 50 percent more than the previous quarterly record and nearly double 3Q11 sales. This equates to over 100,000 smartphone activations for every day of the quarter. There were 7.6 million iPhone activations, meaning that Apple represented 81% of smartphone sales in Q4 for AT&T.

“This was a blowout quarter for smartphone sales. Our network performance is at a high level on voice quality and best-in-class mobile download speeds. U-verse sales continue to be strong and business revenue trends are on a good track," stated Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer.

For Q4, AT&T’s consolidated revenues totaled $32.5 billion, up $1.1 billion, or 3.6 percent, versus the year-earlier quarter. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, operating expenses were $41.5 billion versus $29.3 billion; operating loss was $9.0 billion, compared to operating income of $2.1 billion; and AT&T’s operating income margin was (27.7) percent, compared to 6.7 percent, including costs related to T-Mobile USA.

CAPEX for 2012 is expected to be about $20 billion, stable with 2011, as increases in wireless spending offset declines in wireline capital expenditures.

Some highlights:


Best Postpaid Growth. AT&T posted a net increase in total wireless subscribers of 2.5 million in the fourth quarter to reach 103.2 million in service. Subscriber additions for the quarter include postpaid net adds of 717,000, the best gain in five quarters. Prepaid net adds were 159,000, connected device net adds were 1,029,000 and reseller net adds were 592,000. Fourth-quarter net adds reflect accelerated adoption of smartphones, including the October launch of iPhone 4S, increases in prepaid and reseller subscribers and sales of tablets and connected devices such as automobile monitoring systems, security systems and a host of other emerging products.

Record Quarter for Smartphone Sales. Fourth-quarter smartphone sales represented more than 80 percent of postpaid device sales. Both iPhone and Android device sales set records.

At the end of the quarter, 56.8 percent of AT&T’s 69.3 million postpaid subscribers had smartphones, up from 42.7 percent a year earlier and 32.8 percent two years ago.

The average ARPU for smartphones on AT&T’s network is 1.9 times that of the company’s non-smartphone devices. About 87 percent of smartphone subscribers are on FamilyTalk® or business plans. Churn levels for these subscribers are significantly lower than for other postpaid subscribers.

AT&T had its best sales quarter ever for branded computing subscribers, a new growth area for the company that includes tablets, aircards, mobile Wi-Fi hot spot devices, tethering plans and other data-only devices.

AT&T added 571,000 of these devices to reach 5.1 million, an almost 70 percent increase in total subscribers from a year ago. Most of those new subscribers were tablets, with 311,000 added in the quarter, more than half of which were postpaid.

Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 10.0 percent year over year to $16.7 billion. Wireless service revenues increased 4.0 percent, to $14.3 billion, in the fourth quarter.

Wireless data revenues — driven by Internet access, access to applications, messaging and related services — increased by $956 million, or 19.4 percent, from the year-earlier quarter to $5.9 billion. AT&T’s postpaid wireless subscribers on monthly data plans increased by 16.4 percent over the past year. The number of subscribers on tiered data plans also continues to increase. About 22 million, or 56 percent, of all smartphone subscribers are on tiered data plans, and about 70 percent have chosen the higher-tier plans.

Wireless margins were impacted by record-setting smartphone sales and customer upgrade levels. This was offset in part by improved operating efficiencies and further revenue gains from the company’s growing base of high-quality smartphone subscribers. AT&T’s fourth-quarter wireless operating income margin was 15.2 percent versus 22.9 percent in the year-earlier quarter, and AT&T’s wireless EBITDA service margin was 28.7 percent, compared with 37.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.


Total business revenues grew sequentially for the second consecutive quarter. Revenues were $9.3 billion, down 1.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter but a slight increase over the third quarter of 2011. The year-over-year decline reflects economic conditions and weakness in voice and legacy data products somewhat offset by growth in IP data. Business service revenues, which exclude CPE, declined 1.2 percent year over year, compared to a year-over-year decline of 4.3 percent in the year-ago quarter and were essentially flat sequentially, despite fewer business days in the fourth quarter.

Revenues from the new-generation capabilities that lead AT&T’s most advanced business solutions — including Ethernet, VPNs, hosting, IP conferencing and application services — grew 16.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, continuing strong trends in this area. This now represents a nearly $6 billion annualized revenue stream.

Total business IP data revenues grew 9.2 percent versus the year-earlier fourth quarter, led by growth in VPN revenues. IP-based solutions allow customers to easily add managed services such as network security, cloud services and IP conferencing on top of their infrastructures. Total business data revenues grew 1.3 percent year over year.

Revenues from residential customers totaled $5.3 billion, an increase of 0.5 percent versus the fourth quarter a year ago. The fourth quarter marked the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.

AT&T U-verse TV added 208,000 subscribers to reach 3.8 million in service. As U-verse scales, its margins improve, contributing to profitability. In the fourth quarter, the AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet attach rate was 90 percent and about half of new subscribers took AT&T U-verse Voice. About three-fourths of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers have a triple- or quad-play option from AT&T. ARPU for U-verse triple-play customers was almost $170, up 2.5 percent year over year.

AT&T’s U-verse deployment has reached its goal of passing 30 million living units.

AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet delivered a fourth-quarter net gain of 587,000 subscribers to reach a total of 5.2 million, helping offset losses from DSL. Overall, AT&T lost 49,000 wireline broadband connections. About 74 percent of consumers have a broadband plan delivering speeds of 3 Mbps or higher versus 65 percent in the year-ago quarter.

See also