Originally published: November 12, 2011
Last updated: December 21, 2011 - 5:03am
Apple’s decision to delay until September the launch of the iPhone 4S put a damper on what is usually a very merry pre-holiday quarter for the U.S. wireless industry.
In total, the four nationwide mobile operators roped in 767,000 postpaid subscribers in the third quarter, a 14.5 percent decrease from last year, according to UBS. In comparison, second quarter net postpaid adds increased 9.2 percent year over year – a quarter where there is traditionally no new iPhone to offer operators a bump, but this year was aided by Verizon’s snagging a CDMA version of the iconic device. The two major iPhone slingers didn’t do badly in the third quarter, but in UBS’ view their net adds were nowhere near the numbers either operator would have achieved if they had new iPhones to offer subscribers. The fourth quarter could be a bonanza for the wireless industry, combining the usual holiday craziness with the traditional third-quarter new-iPhone bump. UBS predicts a whopping 11.7 million iPhone activations between Verizon, AT&T and Sprint in the final three months of the year. That will result in 1.3 million total postpaid adds for national operators, up from 1 million in last year’s fourth quarter, UBS projects.
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