If you take a look at , you have to be impressed with the apparent competitive advantage that the has given them, at least initially. They added 6 million gross wireless subscribers, which is the best on record for quarterly growth in the wireless industry. That beat their 2006 4th quarter comparative number by almost 10%. They had a total net addition of 2.7 million subscribers, 1.2 million of which were postpaid net additions, which amounts to an impressive 37% gain from the previous year’s 4th quarter, also a record. Churn was also reduced by 10 basis points from the previous year’s 4th quarter. At the end of the 4th quarter, AT&T had 2 million iPhone customers. AT&T claims that 40% of those current iPhone customers came to AT&T from other carriers.

It’s somewhat difficult to draw comparisons to their chief rival , because Verizon won’t report 4th quarter results until January 28th. But it’s safe to say that the iPhone had a definite positive impact on their record growth numbers and provided them a solid competitive advantage. Its impact will surely grow as well, because AT&T reported that wireless data revenue grew by 57% and now represents 20% of their total wireless revenue and $12/month of wireless ARPU. The iPhone is a data heavy device and will only add to these data numbers. Early returns look good for AT&T and their decision to become the exclusive iPhone retailer.

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