December 6, 2012
Smartphone Sales A Boon To AT&T’s Bottom Line
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The smartphone is becoming more popular with each passing quarter, changing the rest of the landscape as it goes along. These devices have been a boon for the manufacturers and a welcome addition for the carriers who sell them. Today, CNET is reporting that Ralph De la Vega, the head of AT&T´s mobile division, is particularly happy to have several smartphones in his carrier´s stable of offerings.
According to De la Vega, it´s going to be a very happy holiday indeed for AT&T, saying his company has already sold a record-breaking 6.4 million smartphones in the first 2 months of the fourth quarter. This recent surge in smartphones will also help push AT&T to sell around 1 million more smartphones than they had originally projected.
"What we're seeing is tremendous response in the marketplace," said De la Vega, speaking at AT&T´s investor conference in New York City. "Excitement is at (an) all time high. I feel very good about momentum going into December."
The high sales in the first 2 months of the fourth quarter alone would make this the second best quarter for smartphone sales, explained De la Vega. These numbers can only go higher as the holidays approach. In previous seasons, AT&T has seen smartphone sales increase in December.
AT&T has plenty of smartphone options for customers to choose from. The company has recently improved their supply of the popular Apple iPhone, as well as phones running the Android and Windows Phone operating system.
According to MacRumors.com, Apple´s iPhone typically accounts for 70% - 80% of AT&T´s smartphone sales, meaning a potentially high quarter for Apple as well.
AT&T is also selling LG´s Optimus G and Samsung´s popular Galaxy S III smartphones, which both run Google´s Android OS. Windows Phone is represented in the new Nokia Lumia 920.
De la Vega also expects tablets to help drive this fourth quarter into record-setting numbers.
"I can't fathom how many tablets will be under the Christmas tree," said De la Vega. Similar to AT&T´s smartphone selection, the company now sells tablets from each of the big 3 mobile operating systems. Apple´s fourth generation iPad is available through AT&T, as are several Android-based tablets, like Samsung´s Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 or Amazon´s Kindle Fire HD. AT&T is also selling the Samsung Ativ Smart PC and ASUS VivoTab RT which run Microsoft´s latest Windows 8 OS.
Mr. De la Vega also took time to mention his enthusiasm for AT&T´s new mobile share plan which allows all devices on one plan to share from one pool of data. According to De la Vega, a quarter of these shared plans use 10 gigabytes of data or more, higher than his company had previously projected.
This mobile share plan has also been the source of some frustration for many Apple iPhone users. When Apple announced earlier this year that iOS 6 would allow FaceTime video calls over cellular networks instead of Wi-Fi only, AT&T said they´d only allow this feature on mobile share plans. This was seen as a thinly veiled attempt to move more customers away from their grandfathered unlimited data plans and, as such, AT&T received plenty of criticism from customers and consumer advocacy groups alike.
AT&T later revised this policy and said they´d allow FaceTime over their network for iPhone 5 users.
A few weeks later, many iPhone 5 and 4S users with unlimited plans noticed that AT&T had turned on this feature for many more users than they had originally announced.