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AT&T adds 2.7M iPhones, 1.9M customers in Q1 2010

AT&T reported its first-quarter results on Wednesday, and Apple's exclusive carrier partner in the U.S. revealed that it activated 2.7 million iPhones, with more than a third of those customers new to AT&T.

With a total of net gain of 1.9 million wireless subscribers added to AT&T, that means that nearly half of the new customers to AT&T during the quarter came because of the iPhone. The first-quarter result also represents a decrease from 3.1 million iPhones activated during the previous, holiday quarter.

On Tuesday, Apple revealed that it sold 8.75 million iPhones during the same timeframe, which represented the company's largest quarter ever. That was even better than the holiday quarter, when the company shipped a then-record 8.7 million iPhones.

AT&T's reduction shows how important international growth has become for the iPhone platform. That was a point Apple executives made during Tuesday's earnings conference call, when Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that both additional carriers and existing partners were important to the company's record growth.

Cook failed, however, to reveal whether Apple intends to end its exclusive arrangement with AT&T in the U.S. He said though Apple has seen good results with multiple carrier options in other countries, the company is viewing the situation on a country-by-country level to conclude what is in its best interests.

AT&T's first quarter saw the wireless carrier earn $30.6 billion in consolidated revenues, up $78 million from the same period a year ago. The company brought in $0.42 diluted earnings per share, and $0.59 before a previously disclosed non-cash charge of $995 million from a change to taxes related to the Medicare Part D subsidy.

"We’re off to a great start to the year, and our fundamental outlook for the business continues to be quite positive," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer.

The company saw a 10.3 percent increase in wireless service revenues, and added 3.3 million 3G postpaid integrated wireless devices. AT&T now has 26.8 million 3G devices on its network, more than double its total from a year ago.

"AT&T continues to set the pace in mobile broadband, the industry’s number one growth driver, and our wireless business continues to perform at a high level, with improved margins, lower churn and overall revenues growing at a healthy clip," Stephenson said. "AT&T has outstanding mobile broadband capabilities today and a terrific technology path forward to lead the next wave of wireless innovation and growth. We’re investing and executing aggressively to deliver on that potential."