att_iphone_3g_s_hate_you_cant_leave

Apple's exclusive US iPhone carrier, AT&T has announced their Q2 2009 financials, and when it comes to the iPhone, more is... well, more.

  • 2.4 million iPhones activated during the quarter
  • (Apple sold 5.2 million, so that obviously doesn't include international or as-yet unactivated iPhones).
  • 1.4 million new customers.
  • 3.4 billion (with a b!) in data revenue.

The downside? AT&T had to swallow those iPhone subsidies up front, leading in part to a 15% fall year over year:

"Increased operating expenses in the second quarter of 2009, in part, reflect volume-based acquisition costs associated with the success of the iPhone 3GS launch, which started June 19. AT&T’s iPhone customer characteristics are attractive, with (average revenue per user) significantly higher than and churn rates well below the company’s postpaid averages; as a result, robust iPhone demand drives strong recurring revenues and substantial long-term value. AT&T iPhone subscribers, both new customers and upgrades, take two-year contracts with data packages. As a result, robust iPhone demand drives strong recurring revenues and substantial long-term value."

Translation: It cost them a few hundred bucks per user now, but those users are giving them back a hundred bucks a month for the next 24 months. Do. The. Math.

The big picture remains, however, that AT&T needs the iPhone to keep customers, get new customers, and earn big money off those high value customers.