AT&T: 1 million-plus iPhone 4S units activated, so far

AT&T announced today that it has so far activated more than 1 million units of Apple’s iPhone 4S since the new handset went on sale last Friday. According to the wireless giant, this makes the launch of the iPhone 4S the “most successful” iPhone launch since AT&T began carrying the device in 2007.

“It’s no surprise that customers are clamoring for iPhone 4S and they want it to run on a network that lets them download twice as fast as competitors’,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT& Mobility & Consumer Markets.

Apple reported earlier this week that it had sold a record-breaking 4 million iPhone 4S units in the first three days after the device went on sale. Unlike years past, however, the iPhone 4S launched simultaneously on the three largest wireless networks in the US: AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Last year, the iPhone 4 initially launched exclusively on AT&T, and was released later in the year on Verizon. This is the first year Sprint, the third-largest wireless network in the US, has carried the iPhone.

The iPhone 4S is currently available in seven major markets around the world, including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Japan and the UK. Twenty two additional markets will have access to Apple’s newest handset on October 28. Those markets include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. By the end of 2011, more than 70 countries will have the iPhone 4S.

Despite the fast sales of the iPhone 4S, Apple’s stock took a hit on Wall Street yesterday, with shares dropping a full 23.62 points, about 5 percent, after the company failed to beat analyst predictions during its fourth quarter. Lower-than-expected iPhone sales were partially to blame for Apple’s supposedly “weak” fiscal quarter; the company sold more than 17 million iPhones, just shy of the 20 million Wall Street had predicted. Failure to hit the sales mark is believed to have been caused by the longer wait for the iPhone 4S launch this year. The extra wait time – Apple usually announces its new iPhone in June, not October – is also credited with the higher-than-normal sales of the iPhone 4S, which will likely boost Apple’s next quarterly earnings.

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