AT&T sells record 10M smartphones in 4th quarter

Carrier says that in the final quarter of 2012, it sold a record number of smartphones -- more than 10 million -- with highs for both Android and iPhone.

The fourth quarter was good to AT&T.

The carrier said this morning that in the final quarter of 2012, it sold a record number of smartphones -- 10 million. That topped its previous quarterly high of 9.4 million, set in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The three-month period just ended included best-ever quarterly sales of both Android and Apple smartphones, AT&T said.

"We had another incredible quarter of smartphone sales as the mobile Internet continues to drive strong growth in wireless," Ralph de la Vega, chief executive officer for AT&T Mobility, said in a statement. "These are the industry's most valuable postpaid subscribers with average revenues twice that of non-smartphone subscribers."

De la Vega even slipped in a mention of Windows Phone, Microsoft's so far also-ran alternative to Android and iPhone.

"During the quarter, we averaged more than 110,000 smartphone sales a day as customers flocked to our leading portfolio of the latest Android, Apple and Windows devices. Combine that with the nation's largest 4G network and lightning-fast LTE network that now reaches more than 170 million people and you'll understand why customers continue to choose AT&T in record numbers," he said.

Verizon, too, had good things to say about its fourth quarter. CEO Lowell McAdam yesterday called it "historic" -- Verizon's best quarter ever as the company added 2.1 million net subscribers, he said.

Both companies were setting the stage for their fourth-quarter earnings announcements: Verizon on the morning of January 22, and AT&T after the market close on January 24.

See also: Mobile: 10 predictions for 2013

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.


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