Sprint says iPhone responsible for 40 percent of new signups last quarter

Feb 9, 2012
Finance

It’s been a little more than one full fiscal quarter since the iPhone 4S brought Apple’s smartphone to Sprint’s network, and already, the carrier is reporting the device is responsible for 40 percent of new customers joining up. Sprint says it sold 1.8 million iPhones during the last quarter of 2011, GigaOM reports. That’s substantially […]

It’s been a little more than one full fiscal quarter since the iPhone 4S brought Apple’s smartphone to Sprint’s network, and already, the carrier is reporting the device is responsible for 40 percent of new customers joining up.

Sprint says it sold 1.8 million iPhones during the last quarter of 2011, GigaOM reports. That’s substantially less than what was sold by AT&T during the same period – about a quarter of AT&T’s sales – but it’s still pretty good news for Sprint. Those 1.8 million iPhones translated into about 720,000 new customers joining the third-largest network in the U.S.

The last quarter of 2011 was Sprint’s first with the iPhone, and within the first day that the iPhone 4S was available, Sprint had sold out of it. While Sprint moved 1.8 million of the devices during Q4 2011, AT&T pushed quite a few more: about 7.6 million sales. Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., moved 4.2 million iPhones during the same period.

The ability to attract some new customers is good news for Sprint, given that that was the point of working to carry the iPhone in the first place. And Sprint paid quite a bit for the privilege, too: Sprint said it paid $1.7 billion in phone subsidies during the last quarter, up from $1.2 billion paid out during the same period in 2010. Sprint said that was primarily due to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, which carry higher subsidies than most other phones. AT&T and Verizon both noted that their profits took a hit because of money they had to pay to Apple as well; meanwhile, Apple had a record quarter.

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Sprint’s higher subsidies ought to be offset by all the new customers it’s bringing in, however, and going forward it’s likely that the carrier will see higher sales numbers per quarter as more customers come looking for the iPhone. Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5 in the summer, which is also likely to be a full hardware redesign and a bigger update to the smartphone line than the iPhone 4S was. While the 4S set sales records, there are likely more than a few customers who are waiting patiently for a chance at the iPhone 5 rather than jumping on the bandwagon with the iPhone 4S. When that happens, we’ll see just how much taking the plunge to get Apple’s device on its network really pays off for Sprint.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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