AT&T just revealed its quarterly finances and among the statistics lies one incredible fact, that demonstrates exactly how much the company’s future hinges on Apple: 74% of new “integrated device” activations were iPhones.
AT&T saw two million more subscribers join the network, which is the third highest in a quarter in the company’s history–a slightly surprising figure, given that we’re all supposedly still suffering under a depressed economy. (Could it be the abundant iPhone Apps for the unemployed?) 4.3 million “integrated wireless devices” (basically smartphones) were added to AT&T’s grid over this time, which is actually the largest amount added in any quarter ever. Of these 4.3 million, 3.2 million were iPhones, meaning Apple’s completely sewn up the smartphone category within AT&T since there are many other devices by numerous manufacturers coming under the same umbrella.
This figure makes it abundantly clear that AT&T is going to be in trouble if it loses the iPhone exclusivity. With so much bad press about phone call drop-outs, the slow introduction of MMS and the still-missing iPhone data tethering, AT&T is the reason many potential U.S. iPhone buyers cite for not buying the device. Which is, of course, why we recently heard rumors that Apple was testing a CDMA version of the device for a roll-out on Verizon.
But this is a U.S.-centric debate, and among both AT&T and Apple’s stats there’s another calculation we can make. Apple reported 7.4 million iPhones were sold in the quarter. If 3.2 (more or less) joined up to AT&T’s network, this means 4.2 million went overseas. Nearly 57% of iPhone sales went to non-U.S. users, meaning Apple can begin to move past the AT&T problems with some comfort. It means the iPhone is an American device no longer–it’s truly gone global.