AT&T made a solid profit in the latest quarter and remains a dominant force in the American wireless industry. Third-quarter net income for the company was essentially flat, coming in at $3.64 billion, or $0.63 a share. The company reported income of $3.62 billion, or $0.61 a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue also came in flat at $31.46 billion.
AT&T is facing a temporary setback in growth partly because of a lack of enough new iPhones to go around. The iPhone 5 has been selling out quickly in stores since its release in September. Contract subscriptions have been slowing because of the limited supply of Apple’s iPhone 5. There is typically a spike in demand when new iPhones are released, creating a shortage in supply. The company expects that demand for the iPhone 5 will slow in the coming months, which will bring subscriber numbers back up.
Overall sales of smartphones and mobile data plans remain strong. AT&T reported that it sold a record number of Android and Windows phones during the quarter. The company reportedly sold 6.1 million smartphones and activated 4.7 million iPhones during the quarter. At AT&T, 64% of contract customers own smartphones. AT&T began offering shared data plans this year, allowing a customer to share a single pool of data across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Revenue from mobile data services increased 18.3%, to $6.6 billion, compared with the third quarter of 2011.
AT&T added 151,000 contract subscribers in the quarter, compared with 319,000 added in the same quarter last year. However, the company is generating a lot of money from existing customers. The company reported growth of 2.4% in the average amount of money made from each customer, increasing to $65.20 a month. AT&T’s chief executive Randall L. Stephenson said, “We had another impressive quarter with strong earnings growth, record cash flows and solid returns to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.”