AT&T surpasses 100M subscribers, 1M iPhone 4S units activated

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There’s lots of good news for AT&T today. The carrier is reporting strong earnings with major growth in its wireless business, as well as the fact that it has sold over 1 million iPhone 4S units as of last Tuesday.

Revenues totaled $31.5 billion for the third-quarter, down $103 million (.3 percent) from last year, but that slight dip was buoyed by plenty of growth: The company finally surpassed 100 million wireless subscribers, wireless churn (or users leaving AT&T) is down, and wireless data revenues increased by $857 million, 18 percent compared to last year.

The announcement of 1 million iPhone 4S activations is just the icing on the cake — although it doesn’t come as a huge surprise, since Apple announced that it had sold 4 million units of the phone over its launch weekend. I had figured that, as the premiere iPhone carrier in the US, AT&T accounted for a big chunk of those launch sales.

The company gained 2.1 million new wireless subscribers during the quarter, reaching a total of 100.7 million. AT&T points to increased sales in several segments, including smartphones, tablets, prepaid, and other connected devices, as a reason for the growth.

AT&T also announced that its sales of non-iPhone smartphones — including Android, Windows Phone, and others — are going strong, accounting for half of its 4.8 million smartphones sold in the quarter. Additionally, “branded computing subscribers”, which includes customers with AT&T tablets, MiFi devices, tethering plans, and the like, increased by 505,000 to hit 4.5 million.

The company reported a slight drop in its wireline revenues — including those from its U-Verse TV, phone, and internet services — reaching $9.3 billion for the quarter, a 2.7 drop compared to last year. AT&T blames “economic weakness in voice and legacy data products” for the fall — in other words, landline phones and slower DSL service. But it still managed to grab 504,000 more subscribers for its U-Verse home broadband, reaching a total of 4.6 million subscribers.

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