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Friday, October 21, 2011, 06:42 am PT (09:42 am ET)

Verizon sold 2M iPhones last quarter, 700K less than AT&T

Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., sold two million iPhone 4 units last quarter, falling 700,000 short of rival AT&T. The carrier also declined to reveal its launch numbers for the iPhone 4S.

Verizon reported its quarterly earnings on Friday, revealing its profits rose to $1.38 billion, or 49 cents per share, up from $659 million and 23 cents per share a year earlier.

For the three-month span ending in September, Verizon sold a total of two million iPhones. Those sales represented a period before the iPhone 4S was announced, and the iPhone 4 remained Apple's top-of-the-line device.

During the conference call that followed the quarterly earnings release, executives with Verizon blamed rumors of the iPhone 4S before its announcement earlier this month for slowing iPhone sales during the quarter. Executives from Apple said the same thing during their own conference call on Tuesday, noting that iPhone sales slowed significantly toward the end of the September quarter as iPhone 4S rumors began to pick up steam.

During the question-and-answer session of Verizon's call, executives were asked to reveal how many iPhone 4S units were sold by the carrier at launch. Verizon Telecom and Business CEO Fran Shammo said the company was pleased with iPhone 4S sales and ran out on the first day, but said he wouldn't get into volumes.

The iPhone-related numbers from Verizon fell short of what AT&T reported on Thursday, when the rival carrier revealed that it activated 2.7 million iPhones last quarter, and also activated 1 million of the iPhone 4S through Tuesday. AT&T is the second-largest carrier in the U.S. behind Verizon.

But Verizon also closed the gap somewhat with AT&T compared to the previous quarter. In July, it was revealed that AT&T activated 1.3 million more iPhones during its June quarter than Verizon.

Verizon


The two million iPhone sales at Verizon in the September quarter were more than a third of the 5.6 million smartphones the carrier activated in the quarter. Shammo said about half of Verizon's smartphones were Android-powered devices.

At AT&T, 56 percent of smartphone activations were represented by Apple's iPhone. AT&T also said that sales of Android devices more than doubled year over year.

AT&T was the exclusive U.S. carrier of the iPhone from when it first launched in 2007 until February of this year, when Apple added Verizon as a second option for consumers. Availability of the iPhone expanded once again this month, when Sprint became an official partner, while a smaller, regional wireless carrier, C Spire, is also set to begin carrying the iPhone 4S soon.