Here in San Diego at the CTIA Enterprise and Applications show the setting was much more subdued for today’s power hour of CEO keynotes. Former Seattle Seahawk and CTIA President, Steve Largent, opened up the keynote this morning.
Largent talked about the wireless’ industry’s response to national catastrophes and of course the catastrophe that is the “Spectrum Crunch” insuring attendees that our country is indeed in the need of more spectrum. At one point Largent suggested there weren’t many industry’s ready to give the government billions of dollars, except of course the wireless industry to free up more spectrum.
At last years opening day Keynotes the CEO’s of all four tier 1 carriers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were to square off, moderated by Mad Money’s, Jim Cramer. After the AT&T/T-Mobile announcement T-Mobile’s CEO pulled out leaving an interesting showdown between Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, Verizon Wireless CEO, Dan Mead and AT&T Mobility CEO, Ralph de la Vega. Each CEO threw punches last year about the other’s carrier.
If you read analyst reports on the internet Tuesday it seemed that most Wall Street analysts were preaching dooms day for AT&T Mobility.
AT&T’s Wednesday Q1 earnings call told a much brighter story. While AT&T’s post paid subscriber gain wasn’t “great” their churn was stable signaling that there wasn’t a mass exodus to Verizon for the iPhone 4.
In the first quarter of 2011 AT&T Wireless added 2 million net subscribers for a grand total of 97.5 million netsubscribers. They also added 3.6 million iPhones in Q1 with 23% of those being brand new customers. Also very important to note was that their iPhone subscriber churn was the same as it was this quarter last y ear.
AT&T also reported that their Android sales doubled monthly in the first quarter. This was signaled by the addition of both the Motorola Atrix and the HTC Inspire 4G. James Faucette, an analyst with Pacific Crest had downgraded Motorola’s outlook by more than 1 billion dollars each year for 2011 and 2012 on reports that sell through for the Motorola Xoom and the Motorola Atrix were low. Evidently not.
Mack McKelvy with Millennial Media, the largest independent mobile ad publisher in the world, agreed with Thedroidguy that AT&T may not see defectors to Verizon until the summer time when the iPhone 5 is released. However the iPhone 5 is reportedly delayed until September of 2011. It’s believed that their are a lot of contracts that end around the anniversary of iPhone releases. Because of the delay in the iPhone 5 customers will have to renew on their iPhone 4, switch to Verizon’s iPhone 4 or switch to Android.
It’s also important to note that yesterday it was revealed that the Blackberry Bridge which connects the new Blackberry Playbook to Blackberry devices was not supported by AT&T giving customers even further reason to choose between Android and IOS.
As expected AT&T said nothing significant about the pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger. However, T-Mobile sent out invitations to two press events today one in NYC and the other in Los Angeles (we will be at both) insisting that until anything changes things are business as usual.