AT&T’s results for the first quarter of this year spell good news for the company as well as Apple. Over 1.6 million iPhones were activated on AT&T’s network in the first three months of 2009.
AT&T has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2009, and the iPhone 3G is still a big part of the company’s good news. More than 1.6 million iPhones were activated in the last quarter, down from about 1.9 million in Q4 of 2008. While that is a 16 percent drop sequentially, it’s similar to the drop experienced in Q1 of 2008 and still represents a 100 percent growth in iPhone activations year-over-year.
The iPhone continues to fuel positive results for AT&T’s subscriber base. As has been the case since its launch, 40 percent of iPhone users are new AT&T subscribers, contributing to yet another net gain in wireless customers. The total number of subscribers using a 3G device has doubled over the last year, fueled in large part by the iPhone 3G.
Further, iPhone subscribers have a much higher average revenue per user—at about $95 per month. That’s 1.6 times AT&T’s overall average ARPU. AT&T also says iPhone subscribers are a contributing factor in having nine consecutive quarters of ARPU growth and 39 percent year-over-year growth in wireless data revenue. And, due to AT&T’s exclusive deal to service the iPhone, those higher-paying customers are far less likely to leave AT&T once they are hooked on the iPhone.
The high number of activations is good news for Apple, too. Since Apple sells iPhones all over the world in more than 70 countries, you can bet the company will have good things to talk about when it announces its quarterly results later this afternoon (we’ll have full coverage, of course). Like last year, the next quarter will likely see a sharp drop in iPhone activations for AT&T (and low sales for Apple) as many customers will hold out for a hardware upgrade expected this summer.