AT&T Activates A Record 5.2 Million iPhones, Signs Up Most-Ever New Subscribers In Q3

iPhone 4

Photo: Associated Press

Apple’s iPhone 4 just helped AT&T’s wireless business post a big quarter:

  • 2.6 million net wireless subscriber additions, up 30% year-over-year.
  • 5.2 million iPhone activations, up from previous quarterly record of 3.2 million, including 24% of subscribers new to AT&T.
  • 321,000 prepaid net subscriber additions — this is where the iPad 3G shows up in AT&T’s stats — up from a net loss of 176,000 prepaid subscribers during the year-ago quarter.
  • Wireless postpaid data ARPU — average monthly data bill — at $22.02, up 20% year-over-year, despite the addition of cheaper data plans.
  • Record-low total churn of 1.32%, versus 1.42% in the year-ago quarter. Translation into English: 1.32% of AT&T’s wireless customers flee every month.

The glass-half-empty way of looking at this: About 40% of AT&T’s gross subscriber additions last quarter were iPhone buyers, a rep tells us, which is an uptick from previous quarters. That growth driver should take a hit when the iPhone launches at other U.S. carriers, especially Verizon Wireless.

But still, solid stuff for now.

And it highlights how important a partner AT&T still is to Apple: Despite distribution in dozens of countries, More than 1/3 of iPhone activations last quarter were at AT&T.

Read: Here’s What Next Year’s iPad Will Look Like

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