AT&T Activated 1.6 Million iPhones Last Quarter

AT&T’s (T) exclusive deal to sell Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is still doing great things for the telco: AT&T announced today that it activated 1.6 million iPhones during Q1. That’s only down 300,000, or 16%, from the 1.9 million it activated in the Christmas-shopping-fuelled fourth quarter.

The best news for AT&T: It says iPhone subscribers spend 1.6 times the average amount per month on service — about $96 — and tend to leave AT&T less frequently than average subscriber.

What does this mean for Apple’s earnings tonight? Unfortunately, you can’t translate AT&T’s iPhone activations to new iPhone sales — Apple recognises shipments, and many of these iPhones could have been purchased during Q4 but not activated until January. But it seems like a positive, if for any other reason than that people are still willing to shell out for expensive phone service.

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