Thursday, December 8, 2011

AT&T On Track To Break Smartphone Sales Record

AT&T Relevant Products/Services Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said Wednesday that the U.S. wireless Relevant Products/Services carrier is on track to break its all-time quarterly smartphone Relevant Products/Services sales record, thanks in major part to strong demand for Apple's new iPhone 4S.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City, Stephens said that AT&T already has sold a total of 6 million smartphones during the months of October and November.

AT&T said in a statement Wednesday that the carrier's iPhone 4S sales remain strong. December is traditionally one of the strongest sales months of the year, so AT&T will have no problem surpassing the company's previous single-quarter smartphone record of 6.1 million units.

At the end of June, "about half of our postpaid customers had smartphones -- more than any other wireless provider," said David Christopher, the chief marketing officer at AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "And this trend shows no signs of slowing down."

A Good Indication

According to industry observers, Apple's red-hot iPhone 4S was also the best-selling smartphone at Verizon Wireless and Sprint during the months of October and November. Earlier this month, J.P. Morgan raised its December quarter iPhone forecast to 28 million units -- up from the financial firm's prior estimate of 25 million handsets.

The financial firm's recent research suggests "that there had been no plateau effect since the initial 4S sales launch," noted J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz. "In our view, the iPhone sales momentum is not tapering off," Moskowitz wrote in an investor note.

During a meeting with J.P. Morgan analysts last week, Apple executives pointed to ongoing supply constraints related to the iPhone as a good indication of the new device Relevant Products/Services's success. None of Apple's current supply constraints existed prior to the iconic device maker's iPhone 4S launch, Apple told the analysts.

"The company also stated that the free iPhone 3GS is a good dynamic for the iPhone family," Moskowitz wrote. "While the 3GS is not the top seller in the iPhone family, according to management, it is introducing Apple's products to a wider audience of customers."

Robust iPhone Upgrades

According to Stephens, AT&T's strong smartphone sales thus far in the quarter under way can be attributed in part to the huge number of upgrades made by customers who were waiting for Apple to launch a new iPhone. AT&T previously announced that it activated more than 1 million iPhone 4S smartphones during the mobile Relevant Products/Services device's first five days of availability. (continued...)

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