AT&T records $6.7 billion loss despite record smartphone sales

By on January 26, 2012, 1:30 PM

AT&T posted financial results for the fourth quarter of 2011 today. Leading the way for AT&T was record-breaking sales of 9.4 million smartphones which is nearly twice as many sold in the previous quarter and doubles the company’s previous quarterly record. The company added 717,000 new customers on long-term contracts during the quarter, the largest increase in five quarters, ending the year with 103.2 million subscribers.

The wireless carrier noted best-ever sales for both Android and Apple smartphones. Nearly twice as many Android smartphones were sold in Q4 versus the same time a year ago. AT&T activated 7.6 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, breaking yet another quarterly record. The majority of iPhones activated were of the 4S variety, as noted in the press release.

As the quarter came to a close, AT&T highlighted that 56.8 percent of the nearly 70 million postpaid subscribers were using smartphones. This figure is up from 42.7 percent last year and 32.8 percent two years ago. Interestingly enough, roughly 87 percent of smartphone users are subscribed to a family or business plan.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses for AT&T. Despite the significant number of new customers, rival Verizon added nearly 500,000 more subscribers in the same time frame. But more importantly, however, is the massive $6.7 billion loss that was reported. The failed acquisition of T-Mobile resulted in AT&T having to pay $3 billion in cash, $1 billion in spectrum and multiple roaming deals. Additional changes in how the company accounts for employee pension benefits led to further losses.




User Comments: 9

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Factor out the T-Mobile business and you're still at a loss of $2.7 billion.

AT&T sells iPhones, and lots of them. They're losing money, while Apple is setting records. I guess we can see who got the better end of that deal.

mopar man mopar man, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

milwaukeemike said:

Factor out the T-Mobile business and you're still at a loss of $2.7 billion.

AT&T sells iPhones, and lots of them. They're losing money, while Apple is setting records. I guess we can see who got the better end of that deal.

Tell me about it...

Granted, I wouldn't choose AT&T over Sprint OR Verizon out here thanks to the coverage AT&T does NOT have here!

And I'd never own an iPhone...

Scshadow said:

I simply don't believe at&t had losses other then the lost merger. They charge 80-100 dollars every month per smart phone in service out there and we're to believe they take losses? Someone needs to audit them. Not for one sec do I believe that. Maybe they need to cut back on their advertising budget and find more cost efficient ways to deploy their technology. Still, I smell a big fat pig.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Apple and AT&T haters lol. Never fails with every story.

Guest said:

I love you Scshadow!! I think you're 100% correct.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Just shows you can do anything with some... creative accounting. :-)

veLa veLa said:

I have a Galaxy S2 on AT&T, decent service here in Texas. However, no network is as good as Verizon's 4G LTE.

Guest said:

I agree part of the problem is Apple...Carriers need to stand up to Apple and get the price of the phone lowered that they purchase it for...If Apple is making record profits.....and the carriers are reporting loses due to iPhone sales.....and monthly cell phone charges are as high as they have even been..>What does that tell ya? I have a iPhone but hearing stories like this and how bad work conditions are for people making Apple products I'm really starting not to like them again...Good product but seem like bullies and very greedy!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Scshadow said:

I simply don't believe at&t had losses other then the lost merger. They charge 80-100 dollars every month per smart phone in service out there and we're to believe they take losses? Someone needs to audit them. Not for one sec do I believe that. Maybe they need to cut back on their advertising budget and find more cost efficient ways to deploy their technology. Still, I smell a big fat pig.

Because they charge a lot means they can't lose money? You're right... how on earth did GM and Chrysler have all those financial problems when they charge tens of thousands of dollars for a car? They sell TONS of them!

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