Verizon became the nation’s largest carrier when it rocketed past AT&T two years ago after its Alltel acquisition. Since then, it had been enjoying a relatively comfortable lead against AT&T even though the latter was picking up hoards of subscribers thanks to the iPhone. However, AT&T has taken its place as number one in terms of subscribers again by adding 2.8 million new customers in the fourth quarter. How long will this lead last?
AT&T has 95.5 million subscribers now, which is a very small lead over Verizon’s 94.1 million. AT&T also activated 4.1 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, so that leaves us asking – how quickly will Verizon surpass AT&T once it picks up the iPhone 4 in just two weeks? The Apple smartphone is undoubtedly carrying AT&T right now, but many frustrated users are looking to jump ship – some already have in anticipation – for the Verizon iPhone.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, AT&T did have an impressive quarter over the holidays. Here are a few key details of its growth:
Consolidated revenues of $31.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up $653 million, or 2.1 percent, versus the year-earlier period 9.9 percent growth in wireless revenues, with a 9.6 percent increase in wireless service revenues Best-ever wireless net adds, with a more than 2.8 million increase in total wireless subscribers to reach 95.5 million subscribers in service; full-year wireless net adds totaled 8.9 million, the company’s best-ever annual total Continued expansion in new wireless growth areas; connected devices up a record 1.5 million; iPad- and Android-based tablets up 442,000 27.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues, up $1.1 billion versus the year-earlier quarter
For more details on AT&T’s growth and earnings, see the following page.