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AT&T increases its share of iPhone activations

Compared to a year ago, AT&T is activating a larger percentage of iPhones despite the addition of more international carriers.

AT&T said Thursday it activated 3.2 million iPhones during the third quarter, a record for the wireless carrier. That's out of 7.4 million iPhones sold by Appleduring the quarter, also a record for Apple.

Apple iPhone activations
James Martin/CNET

That means AT&T handles about 43 percent of all iPhones, the rest going to international carriers, and of course a smattering of jailbroken devices on other U.S. wireless companies.

In the same quarter a year ago, Apple sold 6.9 million iPhones, and AT&T activated 2.4 million of them, or 35 percent of them. That's a rise of 8 percentage points for AT&T.

What's more interesting is that despite more international carriers selling the iPhone this year--there were to be 80 by the end of summer--AT&T's share of them is still rising.

Expect that number to change soon. Later this month China Unicom will start selling Apple's smartphone for the first time at 1,000 locations, with more sites to be added over the next few months, Apple COO Tim Cook said on the company's earnings call Monday.