A look at telecom-industry subscriber reports

Key facts from selected telecom-industry reports disclosing subscribers, financials

Associated Press
AT&T smartphone sales fall in 2Q, boosting net
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FILE-This May 6, 2012, file photo, shows an AT&T sign at a store in New York. AT&T is seeing declining smartphone sales, leading to the best profitability ever in its wireless arm as it saves on phone subsidies. The largest telecommunications company in the U.S. says it activated 5.1 million smartphones in its latest quarter, down from 5.5 million in the same period a year ago. (AP Photo/CX Matiash, File)

Telecommunications companies have begun releasing their earnings reports for the latest quarter. Here is a summary of reports for selected telecommunications companies and what they reveal about their own and the industry's prospects.

— Oct. 18: Verizon Communications Inc.'s wireless division added a net 1.5 million devices to contract-based plans in the third quarter, more than it has in many years. Analysts were expecting it to add about 900,000. Including non-contract devices, overall additions were the strongest in four years. Verizon Wireless got a boost from its new Share Everything plan, which made it cheaper for households to add wireless service to tablets and laptops.

The launch of the iPhone 5 at the end of the quarter also helped Verizon's numbers. It activated 650,000 units of the new model in just over a week. It activated 3.1 million iPhones of all kinds in the quarter, accounting for 46 percent of its total smartphone activations.

— Oct. 24: AT&T Inc. says it added a net 151,000 new customers on contract-based plans from July through September, the lowest number for that period since at least 2003. AT&T blamed short supplies of the iPhone 5, which launched a week before the end of the quarter. AT&T said the shortage of iPhones meant that most of them went to people who were already AT&T customers. But that didn't hold back Verizon Wireless, which reported adding 10 times as many contract-signing customers as AT&T did.

— Oct. 25: Sprint Nextel Corp. says it lost an overall 423,000 subscribers in the July-to-September period, as trends across its product lineup were weak. Excluding recaptured Nextel customers, it lost contract-signing subscribers from the Sprint network for the first time in years. Customers on contract-based plans are the most lucrative, and keeping them has been a linchpin of CEO Dan Hesse's turnaround plan. For non-contract plans, the company added just 19,000 customers, the smallest number in more than three years.

— Oct. 26: Comcast Corp. says it gained a net 123,000 voice customers, beating the 116,000 gain expected.

— Oct. 30: MetroPCS Communications Inc. says it lost about 312,000 subscribers to end with 9 million.

— Monday: Time Warner Cable Inc. says the number of residential voice subscribers was unchanged at 5 million.

— Wednesday: Leap Wireless International Inc. says it lost 239,000 voice customers in the quarter.

— Thursday: Deutsche Telekom AG says its T-Mobile USA business gained prepaid customers but lost 492,000 contract customers, a result the company called "unsatisfactory."

Note: T-Mobile and MetroPCS have reached a deal to combine their cellphone businesses, but they will report separately until the deal is completed.

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