AT&T Memo Leaked -- iPhone 3GS Makes for Best Selling Debut Ever

We already knew Apple sold -- and upsold -- 1 million iPhone 3GS devices opening weekend, but an internal memo shows just how big an event that was for AT&T. Massive summer blockbuster, thy name is iPhone 3GS.

On this year's launch day, iPhone sales exceeded sales recorded on 2008's iPhone launch day, Black Friday 2008 and Dec. 26, 2008 — all heavy-volume sales days. In fact, this year we surpassed 2008's launch day sales at about noon Central time, and sustained our previous peak hour record, also set in 2008, for 11 straight hours.

Now imagine how many they would have sold if MMS and tethering were ready, and they'd expanding their network to better handle iPhone traffic.

(What, the dead horse had it coming!)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Yeah, well if they're so successful, why can't they turn on MMS and tethering?
  • Does anyone know total iPhone sales? Anyone?!
  • Well that's what happens when your activation servers crash for hours during what would otherwise have been the biggest launch ever.
  • At my local Apple store they still had a cordoned off line outside the store on June 26th. Of course, nobody was in the line, but they still gave people who came into the store a chit and asked them to wait outside until they were called. Since there was nobody in line, each person barely had time to do a double-take before being called. It was funny to see.
    That said, in my 20 minutes there I saw it happen at least 4 times, so at least at this one San Diego store the 3GS anecdotally seems to be selling pretty briskly a couple of weeks after launch.
  • I don't know. I just don't see tethering as the "must have" feature that's going to pull in lots and lots of sales. MMS, on the other hand, does seem to be a feature many people want. I can take it or leave it. They invented this really great thing call email? Maybe you've heard of it. ;)
  • I don't belive this, because the stats for 3G opening weekend also claims one million units sold. Two other very glairing points would be after 3G S launch AT&T suddenly decides to offer those customers that have consistantly shown they are willing to spend more than they have to for monthly service, and the tendency to upgrade to the newest devices a whole year bump up in upgrade status. Don't get me wrong I love this, because I got bumped up, but it shows a need to drive sales. The more telling is that after release weekend carriers in other countries started giving away free 3G S's with signing of two year contracts. This was not how it started it was only after the initial weekend sales.
    Looks like Apple and AT&T are trying to create the hype internally, and hoping it will carry over onto the street. You don't give something away free when it's selling like hotcakes. I think they are handing out handfulls of crazy pills at both firms.
    This memo was leaked? Not it was stratigically placed in hopes to build hype. See it for what it really is signs of desperation. Which is good for the consumer. Hold off on your purchase and you might be able to get it for free in a month or two. Just my two cents on the matter.
  • P. S. With the 3G At&t was only competting with Apple stores for unit sales. Now they are up against Best Buy and WalMart and Apple stores. AT&T can not include those other chains in their sales. Sure they are providing the carrier service, but they don't get credit for the sales. Unless there is some underhanded sales agreement that no matter where it's sold Everyone gets A) credit for the sale and B) a cut of the action.
    Not even to mention that for 3G sales they are saying they have now out sold the 3G not only on release weekend but black Friday and the day after Christmas combined? Come on if the 3G sold one million units and you then add in sales for two other high volume days, and the 3G S is claiming one million units sold on opening weekend, but this out sold the 3G!?
    Sorry but the numbers just are not adding up here.
  • As in most european countries there are competing operators simultaneously releasing the 3Gs it is quite normal that a few of them would "give it away for free" with a two year contract. You might want to check the details of that contract before assuming it is beneficial for the customer though. Most new top-of-the-line phones are available with contracts like this, but the monthly fee is usually so high that only the less informed would go for that option. You'd be stuck paying like $100/month, of which $50 is the actual cost of the traffic, and the rest is a payoff on the phone. On top of that comes that you have to pay minute and per message fees for everything exceeding the included amount (normally about $15).
    Not exactly my definition of "free".
  • iBamse:
    The iPhone is available here, for AU$99/month which includes unlimited calls/sms/mms and 2gb of data, which you can use for tethering.
    On our other "Free" iPhone plans, which start at $69/month - we certainly don't pay for incoming calls and the like.
    ATT is extremely expensive, countries where there are multiple carriers are far better value!
  • This is nothing but hype, If ATT did achieve this success, why aren't they providing figures? Why did ATT relent and allow current customers still under contract, the ability to upgrade to the new iphone? Anyone can produce a document and try to pass it off as authentic. Engadget, boygenius, and others, at least post a picture of the document. Not that it proves the document is legit. Referencing MDN is not a good thing, that blog is complete flaming garbage.