The company on Wednesday reported net income for the first quarter of 2009 of $3.13 billion, down about 10% from $3.46 billion for the same period last year. Total revenue for the first quarter of 2009 was $30.6 billion, down from $30.7 billion the previous year. The company attributed the drop to the tough economic climate.
"These results demonstrate focused and disciplined execution as we work through a tough economy," said AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement.
The drop would likely have been worse if not for the iPhone, for which AT&T is the exclusive service provider. The company said it activated more than 1.6 million iPhones during the first quarter; more than 40% of those activations were new customers. The company noted that iPhone users produced higher-than-average monthly revenues per subscriber than non-iPhone users.
"The iPhone subscriber activations continue to be terrific. Charges are higher, and AT&T is well-positioned for the next wave of wireless growth, "CFO Richard Lindner said in a webcast of the earnings.
Overall, the number of AT&T's wireless customers with integrated mobile devices more than doubled over the previous year, according to the company -- and nearly 41% of the company's wireless subscribers had 3G devices, compared with just under 20% at the same period last year.
Those subscribers helped boost data revenues to $3.2 billion for the first quarter -- up nearly 39% from the same period last year, and more than double the total for the first quarter two years ago. The data charges represented 27% of AT&T's first-quarter wireless service revenues, compared with 22% for the same period last year and 16% in the first quarter of 2007.
"I am particularly pleased with the success of our iPhone 3G initiative, which has driven strong high-end customer growth and delivered financial benefits ahead of our original outlook," Stephenson said. "Business and consumer expectations for mobility are on the rise, wireless innovation is flourishing and the opportunities ahead are substantial."