Once again, the iPhone drove customer additions and data revenues for AT&T in the second quarter, but margins took a hit.
Thanks to the new iPhone 3GS, which was released on June 19, AT&T saw record iPhone activations in the quarter. The 2.4 million activations accounted for nearly half of the 5.2 million iPhones Apple said it sold in the quarter worldwide. Of the 2.4 million activations, one third were new customers to AT&T, meaning the iPhone was responsible for more than half of AT&T's 1.4 million net new subscribers in the second quarter.
Due to heavy subsidies of the iPhone, AT&T's wireless operating margin was lower for the quarter at 23.8 percent vs. 25.5 percent in the year-earlier quarter. AT&T's data revenues increased 37.2 percent over second quarter of 2008 to $3.4 billion. Data now accounts for 28.7 percent of AT&T's second quarter wireless revenue. The company said its subscribers sent an average of more than 1 billion text message a day, and its total text messaging traffic for the quarter exceeded 108 billion. AT&T also said it increased the number of 3G laptop cards on its network by 50 percent, for a total of 1.4 million.
Meanwhile, rival Verizon Wireless announced it added 1.1 million subscribers in the second quarter. Data revenues grew to 29.3 percent of all service revenues, up from 24 percent in the second quarter 2008 on a pro forma basis.
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