January 27, 2012

Briefly: Verizon pulls away from AT&T, Apple philanthropy

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:40 PM EST (02:40 PM PST)
AT&T announced a significant quarterly loss as a result of a failed T-Mobile takeover and is now adding fewer new customers than rival Verizon Wireless, while Apple extends its charitable matching program to include part-time employees.

Verizon pulling ahead of AT&T

Verizon strengthened its position as the number one mobile carrier in the U.S. based on subscribership as the company announced a 7.7 percent rise in overall revenue to end the fourth quarter of 2011, with even bigger earnings seen by its wireless arm’s $ 18.3 billion in revenue which represented a 13 percent rise year-to-year, reports The Wall Street Journal.

AT&T, on the other hand, reported a $ 6.68 billion loss for the quarter after a late-2011 pullout from a planned T-Mobile deal, though overall revenue rose 3.6 percent to $ 32.5 billion. The telecom activated a record 7.6 million iPhones over the holiday quarter, accounting for over 80 percent of all of the company’s smartphone sales, however a bulk of those were to existing customers.

The new data makes it clear that AT&T is losing the customer sign-up battle even though it saw a 79 percent bump from the year ago period with 717,000 new users. Verizon’s new subscribership eclipsed AT&T’s numbers and added 1.2 million contract subscribers during the same period.

Verizon now serves 108.7 million subscribers compared to AT&T’s 103.2 million users.

Apple charitable matching

Apple announced via Twitter from its Apple Retail Workers account that the company is expanding its charitable matching program to include part-time workers.

The program, first introduced by CEO Tim Cook in September 2011, calls for Apple to match employee non-profit donations dollar-for-dollar up to $ 10,000 a year. Originally, the plan was limited to full-time U.S. workers, but Cook promised that it would soon expand to other countries.

According to the most recent statistics regarding the gift matching initiative released in November, Apple and its employees raised $ 2.6 million.


AT&T: 80% Of All The Phones We Sell Are iPhones

AT&T: 80% Of All The Phones We Sell Are iPhones

Photo by Steve Rhodes – http://flic.kr/p/21zyYN

Despite losing its exclusive standing with Apple, AT&T announced selling 7.6 million iPhones, comprising 20 percent of Apple’s 37 million smartphone sales during the fourth quarter of 2011, which ended Dec. 31. Even more impressive: Apple’s handset accounts for 80 percent of all smartphones the carrier sells.

AT&T said it sold a record 9.4 million smartphones during the December quarter, beating its previous record by 50 percent. The iPhone sales by themselves dwarfed the carrier’s previous record of 6.1 million smartphones sold. Even more amazing: most of the iPhones AT&T sold were Apple’s latest iPhone 4S, released two weeks into the quarter.

The carrier credits its massive iPhone sales to AT&T being the only provider offering HSPA+ speeds for iPhone 4S users. Wednesday, Verizon announced selling 4.2 million iPhones during the same quarter.

All of which overshadowed AT&T’s $ 4.2 million charge as a result of failure to get its merger with T-Mobile approved.

Ed Sutherland

Ed Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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Cult of Mac

More than 80% of smartphones activated at AT&T were Apple’s iPhone

By Sam Oliver

Published: 09:26 AM EST (06:26 AM PST)
Apple’s first carrier partner remains is strongest, as AT&T revealed on Thursday that it activated a record 7.6 million iPhones over the holiday 2011 quarter.

The 7.6 million iPhones activated on AT&T represented 20.5 percent of the total 37 million iPhones Apple sold in its own record quarter, the results of which were announced on Tuesday. AT&T followed up Thursday with its quarterly earnings, in which consolidated revenues were up $ 1.1 billion to $ 32.5 billion.

The iPhone was dominant at AT&T, accounting for 80.8 percent of the 9.4 million smartphones sold through the carrier.In the previous quarter, the iPhone represented 56 percent of AT&T’s smartphone activations with 2.7 million units.
The wireless carrier revealed that a majority of the 7.6 million iPhones it activated in the quarter were the iPhone 4S. That aligns with what Apple executives said on Tuesday, when they revealed the latest model of their smartphone was by far the best selling.

The 7.6 million iPhones activated on AT&T also easily bested the 4.2 million iPhones Verizon activated during the same three-month span. The iPhone accounted for 55 percent of smartphone sales at Verizon.

AT&T also said it was a strong quarter for its Android-based handsets, as Android smartphones also set a new record over the holidays. Specific sales figures for Android and other platforms weren’t provided, but would remain among the remaining 1.8 million non-iPhone smartphones sold in the three-month period. Total smartphone sales were the best ever seen at AT&T, blowing past its previous quarterly record by 50 percent.

The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier added a total of 2.5 million wireless subscribers in the quarter. That means most of the 7.6 million iPhones activated over the holidays were to existing AT&T subscribers.

AT&T saw 10 percent growth in wireless revenues, and 19.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues. It said that 82 percent of its postpaid sales were smartphones.

Computing devices, including the iPad and other tablets, reached 571,000. That was the company’s best-ever quarter, and the carrier now has 5.1 million subscribers with those 3G-connected devices, up almost 70 percent from a year ago.


AT&T: Eighty percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2011 were iPhones

Apple sold a blockbuster number of iPhones in Q1 2012, and these extraordinary sales trickled down to its carrier partners. In the US, the biggest beneficiary of this explosion is AT&T which announced it activated 7.6 million iPhones in the just-ending quarter. This number is about 20 percent of Apple’s total iPhone sales for the quarter.

AT&T had its best quarter ever for iPhone and smartphone sales. The carrier sold 9.4 million smartphones, 50 percent more than its previous quarterly record and almost double its Q3 2011 sales. iPhones were the dominant smartphone for the carrier and accounted for 80 percent of its smartphone sales.

The carrier said it had its best-ever quarter for Android sales and doubled what it sold in the same quarter last year. Though strong, Android doesn’t compare to the iPhone on AT&T. We can calculate that the carrier sold 1.8 million or less Android devices, which is a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone sales.

AT&T also thoroughly trounced Verizon which sold 4.3 million iPhones. This lower number may be due, in part, to AT&T’s portfolio, which includes three iPhones- the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 and the highly discounted iPhone 3GS. Verizon only carries the iPhone 4 and 4S. Those who bought the iPhone 4 when it launched in early 2011 were under contract and would have to break a contract to buy the 4S when it debuted.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

AT&T, T-Mobile file plans to transfer $1 billion wireless airwaves

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 07:00 PM EST (04:00 PM PST)
AT&T has filed for FCC approval to transfer wireless spectrum worth $ 1 billion to T-Mobile as a result of the failure of its $ 39 billion effort to acquire the smaller mobile carrier.

Along with the spectrum, AT&T will give T-Mobile’s German owner Deutsche Telekom $ 3 billion in cash as part of its pre-negotiated terms for backing out of the acquisition, which was quashed by the US Justice Department and the FCC as threatening competition in the wireless market.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs said “this additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services.”

T-Mobile is the only carrier among the US’ top 4 to have not articulated any plans for rolling out LTE 4G service, and is also hampered by its use of non-standard UMTS 3G service. That prevents the carrier from selling Apple’s existing iPhone, which it has cited as a key reason for its poor performance.

T-Mobile has previously indicated that new chipsets could enable future iPhone models to support the company’s existing 3G service. Without building out LTE however, T-Mobile could likely be left behind as support for the new networking standard begins to trickle into the mainstream.

Both T-Mobile and AT&T have referred to their existing HSPA+ networks as 4G, because they can offer data speeds compatible to LTE. However, LTE has future potential well beyond HSPA+.

Apple is expected to release an iPhone model capable of supporting LTE later this year. It has not previously supported LTE until now because of technical issues involving battery life and size.

Last April, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook explained in a conference call, “the first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.”


AT&T Announces All New (And More Expensive) iPhone & iPad Data Plans

AT&T Announces All New (And More Expensive) iPhone & iPad Data Plans

AT&T has been forcing the same crappy $ 25 for 2GB plan down everyone’s throat since June 2010, but now they’re upgrading it for the first time. Starting Sunday, AT&T will be upgrading all their new smartphone data plans with larger data allocations… and larger prices. Yes, pay-by-the-month iPad users, that means you too.

Starting Sunday, January 22nd, these will be the new plans, replacing the current $ 15 for 250MB/$ 25 for 2GB/$ 50 for 5GB plans:

• AT&T DataPlus 300MB: $ 20 for 300MB, additional 300MB for $ 20.
• AT&T DataPro 3GB: $ 30 for 3GB, additional 1GB for $ 10/each
• AT&T DataPro 5GB: $ 50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot/tethering, additional 1GB for $ 10/each

And here are the equivalent iPad plans:

• The existing 250MB for $ 15 plan
• AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $ 30 for 3GB
• AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $ 50 for 5GB

Needless to say, current users keep their old plans indefinitely. Personally, upgrading to 3GB from 2GB for another $ 5 seems like a pretty good deal, but man, existing 250MB DataPlus customers are getting boned: $ 5 for a mere 50 more megabytes of data. AT&T must really want people off that plan.

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

AT&T announces new smartphone data plans

AT&T has announced new smartphone data plans, outlined below and effective January 22. This is the first significant update to AT&T’s smartphone data plans in a year and a half, aside from AT&T’s inclusion of an additional 2 GB of data per month for tethering customers. We’ve provided some comparison with the old plans so you can get some idea of what you’re getting for your money under AT&T’s new scheme.

New plans:

  • DataPlus 300 MB: $ 20 for 300MB — extra 300 MB costs $ 20
  • DataPro 3 GB: $ 30 for 3 GB — $ 10 per additional GB
  • DataPro 5 GB: $ 50 for 5 GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering — $ 10 per additional GB

Old plans:

  • DataPlus: 200 MB for $ 15 — extra 200 MB costs $ 15
  • DataPro: 2 GB $ 25 — $ 10 per additional GB
  • Tethering: Additional $ 20/month for DataPro customers and adds an additional 2 GB of data

In summary, overall tier pricing has risen by $ 5 per month across the board, but the data plans are also more generous by 50 MB on the low end and 1 GB on the middle and high tiers.

AT&T also has two new tablet data plans for the iPad:

  • $ 30 for 3 GB
  • $ 50 for 5 GB

The existing $ 14.99 for 250 MB plan remains available. These are still month-to-month, contract-free plans available to owners of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models.

Existing customers can stick with their current plans if they prefer, but new AT&T customers will be limited to the new options after January 22.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

AT&T introduces new, larger data plans

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:54 PM EST (02:54 PM PST)
In a bid to cope with ever increasing data usage from subscribers, AT&T has introduced new data plans for smartphone and tablet users.

A press release on Wednesday from the number two U.S. mobile carrier details the new rates that will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 22, marking the first change to the company’s data plans since 2010.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

The new smartphone pricing is basically a $ 5 surcharge for a 1 GB bump in data for DataPro users, while DataPlus subscribers will get an extra 100 MB for the same price.

Tablet owners will see a reshuffling of options as the previous 2 GB DataConnect plan is to be replaced a 3 GB per month flavor previously only available on a two-year contract. An additional 5 GB plan will also be added for $ 50 per month and the lowest 250 MB plan remains unchanged.

Current subscribers can keep their existing plans or opt in to one of the new tiers when the program launches on Sunday.

Smartphone plans are as follows:

  • AT&T DataPlus 300MB: $ 20 for 300MB

  • AT&T DataPro 3GB: $ 30 for 3GB

  • AT&T DataPro 5GB: $ 50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Additional data pricing remains at $ 10 per gigabyte for the DataPro plans and $ 20 per additional 300 MB for DataPlus customers.

Tablet data tiers have changed to:

  • AT&T DataConnect 250MB: $ 14.99 for 250MB

  • AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $ 30 for 3GB

  • AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $ 50 for 5GB

Overage charges only apply to 30-day tablet prices and include $ 14.99 for and extra 250MB with AT&T DataConnect 250 MB, and $ 10 per additional gigabyte for DataConnect 3 GB and 5 GB.

The new plans reflect an upward trend in cellphone and tablet data pricing from U.S. carriers as their networks strain under the pressure of a growing customer base.


AT&T expands 4G LTE to 11 new markets including NYC, San Francisco, L.A.

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 12:55 PM EST (09:55 AM PST)
AT&T announced on Thursday that it has expanded its high-speed 4G long-term evolution network to 11 new cities, including the New York metropolitan area, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

AT&T’s 4G LTE is now available in a total of 26 markets to 74 million customers. The announcement was made Thursday by John Stankey, president and chief xecutive officer of AT&T Business Solutions at Citi’s 22nd Annual Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco, Calif. The full list of 4G LTE markets recently added are:

  • New York City metro area
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • San Jose, Calif

“We’re building a 4G LTE network that’s blazing fast, and we offer dual layers of 4G technologies to provide customers with a more consistent speed experience,” Stankey said. “Our network, together with our unsurpassed 4G device portfolio and innovative applications, will give our customers an industry-leading mobile broadband experience.”

The latest expansion joins 15 markets that AT&T brought 4G LTE to in 2011. They are Athens, Ga.; Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex.; Houston, Tex.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Kansas City, Kan.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; San Antonio, Tex.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Washington D.C.

The roll-out of AT&T’s LTE network has been much slower than rival Verizon, which which debuted its fourth-generation high-speed network in December of 2010 in 38 metropolitan areas and more than 60 commercial airports across the U.S. Verizon’s 4G network currently covers more than 186 million Americans, while AT&T’s is available to 74 million.

Speculation has suggested that 4G LTE markets and related technology in phones will be mature enough this year that Apple could offer an LTE-capable iPhone model. Last year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said poor battery life and other issues with current LTE technology were not up to standard.

“The first generation of LTE chipsets for a lot of design compromises with the handset,” Cook said last April, “and some of those we are just not willing to make.”


Rumor: iPhone made up 66% of sales at AT&T corporate stores, Android 9%

By Josh Ong

Published: 09:56 PM EST (06:56 PM PST)
A new report claims Apple’s iPhone comprised 66 percent of all device sales at AT&T’s corporate retail stores in December, while Android is said to have taken an 8.5 percent share.

The Mac Observer cited a source inside AT&T on Friday as indicating that the company’s stores sold 981,000 iPhones between Dec. 1 and Dec. 27. By comparison, 126,000 Android devices were reportedly sold during the same period.

Basic feature phones apparently performed better than Android at the stores, as 128,000 units were sold during December. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices continued to languish, with just 74,000 sold this month. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 fared even worse.

According to the report, the numbers only include AT&T’s corporate retail stores, not authorized resellers, online sales, telephone sales or other retail outlets.

Of course, the iPhone’s performance at AT&T corporate stores doesn’t on its own reflect the device’s overall market share. Given that AT&T was the original partner for the iPhone, Apple’s handset has long been the best-selling phone on the network.

Recent third-quarter figures from comScore reveal that Android has reached a 46.9 percent share of the smartphone market, compared to Apple’s 28.7 percent.

The publication was unable to confirm with Apple’s PR department the numbers provided by its source, as the company declined to comment. AT&T did, however, reveal earlier this month that it expected to have its best quarter ever for smartphone sales because of “strong” performance of the iPhone 4S. The wireless operator sold six million smartphones in the first two months of the fourth quarter and is expected to handily beat its previous quarterly sales record of 6.1 million smartphones.

The iPhone accounted for 56 percent of AT&T’s smartphone activations in the third quarter of calendar 2011, even as some customers held out for the iPhone 4S.

Apple CEO TIm Cook said last quarter that he is confident the company will “set an all-time record for iPhones” during the December quarter. The iPhone maker has guided for $ 37 billion in revenue during the period and is expected by some analysts to surpass the $ 40 billion mark.