AT&T Q4 income up 2.4% to $2.4bn net; 1.9m iPhone 3Gs activated

After Verizon Wireless' strong financial report yesterday, we've been waiting to see whether AT&T could match their arch-rival's performance.  The good news (for investors and employees) is that it's been a pretty successful quarter – and year – for them too, helped in no small part by Apple's iPhone 3G.  In fact AT&T activated 1.9m new iPhone 3G handsets, nearly 40-percent of which were new to the carrier, helping push Q4 2008 net income to $2.4bn and whole-year net income to $12.9bn on revenues of $124bn.

For Q4, consolidated revenues totalled $31.1 billion, up 2.4-percent versus reported results in the year-earlier quarter; still, reported Q4 2008 net income totalled $2.4 billion versus $3.1 billion for Q4 2007.  AT&T saw a 2.1m gain in subscribers over the fourth-quarter, pushing total numbers to 77m (higher than Verizon Wireless' reported 72.1m), with total monthly subscriber churn at 1.6-percent, down from 1.7 percent for both Q3 2008 and Q4 2007. 

Mobile data use increased 51.2-percent versus the Q4 2007, to $3.1 billion.  Incidentally, iPhone customers generate 1.6x the average revenue per user, and show significantly less churn than those with non-Apple handsets.  As for wireline services, AT&T are reporting their best-ever U-verse TV net adds of 264,000, and 14-percent growth in IP data revenues.