U.S. carrier AT&T said this morningthat it activated 7.6 million iPhones during the holiday quarter, best-ever quarter for sales of Apple’s handset on their network. In fact, strong iPhone 4S and Android smartphones performance helped the carrier weather the storm as fourth-quarter earnings recorded a big net loss $6.7 billion, or $1.12 a share. Much of this is contributed to the failed merger with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit.
Revenue for the quarter was $32.5 billion, a 3.6 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. Operating margins also dropped to 15.2 percent, a 22.9 percent decline from a year ago. Strong iPhone sales that command one of the highest subsidies in the industry contributed to the lower operating margin. AT&T chairman and chief executive officer Randall Stephenson announced share repurchases due “in short order”.
Rival Verizon Wireless announced on Tuesday it activated 4.3 million iPhones on its network, accounting for over half the 7.7 million total smartphones shipped during the quarter. Additionally, Verizon said it sold some 1.6 million 4G LTE smartphones, of which more than eighteen were mostly Android smartphones.