AT&T released their fourth quarter 2012 earnings this week
, showing that the communications giant logged $32.2 billion in revenue for the quarter. The lion's share of that was of course wireless service, with AT&T saying they sold 8.6 million iPhones during the fourth quarter and 10.2 million smartphones overall -- a company record. AT&T saw $17.6 billion in wireless revenues, but lost $3.9 billion, like Verizon, due to pension plans and handset subsidies.
AT&T says they ended the quarter with 47.1 million postpaid (contract) smartphone customers, 6.6 million of which are now on the company's shared data plans. AT&T says that more than a quarter of their postpaid accounts on the new shared plans are signing up for data plans of 10 GB or greater.
AT&T is of course waging quiet war
on grandfathered unlimited users, still finding itself under fire for blocking those users from using Apple's Facetime
. Clearly none of this is hurting iPhone sales, with most consumers probably only bluntly aware of what the debate's all about.
On the wireline side AT&T did see strong U-Verse growth, AT&T adding 192,000 new U-Verse TV subscribers and 609,000 new U-Verse broadband subscribers on the quarter. Still, AT&T saw a slight net loss on overall broadband connections, as the company continues to bleed un-upgraded DSL users by the hundreds of thousands every quarter. AT&T also continues to lose POTs customers by even greater numbers, their POTS total down from 3.5 to 3.4 million last quarter.
AT&T's slowly but surely exiting stage left when it comes to these un-upgraded DSL and copper voice users, letting them flee to either LTE (and its pricey overages) or to cable broadband. The company's lobbyists are currently in the process of dismantling much of the regulations governing these lines
, while hoping nobody notices.