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Verizon Customers Snap Up 6.2 Million iPhones

January 22, 2013

iPhone 5

Verizon customers rushed to pick up Apple's latest smartphone last year, with the wireless carrier activating more than 6 million new iPhones during the fourth quarter.

During a Tuesday morning conference call, Verizon said it activated 6.2 million iPhones during the quarter, almost half of which were 4G LTE. The iPhone 5 is the only 4G LTE Apple smartphone, so it would appear that Verizon sold about 3 million new iPhone 5s.

That's up quite a bit from the 3.1 million iPhones it activated during the third quarter, but customers were likely waiting for the release of the iPhone 5, which debuted on Sept. 21.

In total, Verizon activated 9.8 million smartphones, "which was by far, our highest total ever," Verizon's chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, said during a conference call with analysts.

After the 6.2 million iPhones, Android devices "made up a majority of the remaining smartphones" sold, Shammo said. About 87 percent of post-paid phone sales were smartphones, while about 30 percent of smartphone activations were new to Verizon. About 42 percent of customers who upgraded during the quarter were buying a smartphone for the first time, Shammo said.

Smartphone penetration on Verizon's network is now at 58 percent, up from 53 percent in the third quarter and 44 percent last year.

Overall, Verizon sold 7.3 million 4G LTE during the quarter, of which 6.4 million were smartphones. At this point, almost 50 percent of Verizon's data traffic travels over its 4G LTE network, which now serves 476 markets.

Tablet sales, meanwhile, doubled over the third quarter. Verizon did not break out which tablets were most popular, but the carrier said it only released three tablets during the quarter - the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the iPad mini, and the fourth-generation iPad .

Verizon's biggest rival, AT&T, will announce its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, Jan. 24. Earlier this month, however, it provided a sneak peek at earnings. AT&T sold more than 10 million smartphones during the quarter, including "best-ever quarterly sales of Android and Apple smartphones."



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