AT&T activates 1M iPhone 4Ss in five days

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) said it had activated more than 1 million iPhone 4Ss through Tuesday, giving the carrier its most successful iPhone launch in history.

The carrier announced the activation stats as part of its third-quarter earnings. The figures are in line with what AT&T said on Friday when the iPhone 4S officially went on sale. The carrier said at the time that it had already activated a record number of iPhones on its network--and was on track to double its previous record for activations on a single day.

Overall, Apple said it sold 4 million iPhone 4Ss around the world in its first weekend of availability, more than doubling its previous opening weekend iPhone sales record of 1.7 million iPhone 4s last year. One advantage AT&T may have is that the iPhone 4S supports HSDPA speeds up to 14.4 Mbps--faster than CDMA EV-DO data provided by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S).

Now, however, AT&T has more iPhone competition than ever before, not only from its larger rival Verizon Wireless, but also from Sprint, which started selling the iPhone for the first time and offers unlimited smartphone data plans. Additionally, C Spire Wireless, the regional wireless carrier formerly known as Cellular South, said Wednesday that it will launch the iPhone 4S within the next few weeks. 

Sprint, which is also selling the iPhone 4, has not announced any iPhone activation figures but said Friday that it recorded its "best ever day of sales in retail, Web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history."  Verizon will report its third-quarter earnings tomorrow and Sprint will report next week.

Meanwhile, analysts have started digging into the guts of the iPhone 4S to find outs its bill of materials as well as which companies are supplying key components for the device. According to an analysis by IHS iSuppli, Apple's BOM is $188 for the 16 GB version, $207 for the 32 GB version and $245 for the 64 GB model. Apple sells the phones in the U.S. for $649, $749 and $849, respectively, but carriers subsidize $450 of that cost if customers sign a two-year contract.

One of the big component winners for the iPhone 4S, which supports both CDMA and GSM networks, is Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), according to iSuppli. Qualcomm has replaced Infineon as the baseband processor provider, dealing a blow to Intel, which bought Infineon's wireless chip business last year for $1.4 billion.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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