AT&T Posts Record Smartphone Sales

AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier, sold more than 10 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, setting a record, after demand for the iPhone and Android devices spurred holiday sales.

The results topped AT&T’s previous record-high sales of 9.4 million smartphones in the year-earlier period, the Dallas-based company said today in a statement.

The carrier is trying to bounce back from the third quarter, when it added just 151,000 contract subscribers. That compared with 1.5 million net additions at AT&T’s biggest rival, Verizon Wireless. AT&T is playing catch-up with Verizon in rolling out a network using a technology called long-term evolution, which allows for faster downloads.

Gaining smartphone customers is key to AT&T’s strategy because they use more data -- and therefore have higher bills -- than subscribers who buy regular phones. Smartphone subscribers generate twice as much revenue on average as other customers, Ralph de la Vega, president of the AT&T Mobility division, said today in the statement.

The company plans to report its full fourth-quarter results on Jan. 24.

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