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AT&T claims 146,000 iPhone activations on launch weekend

Published Jul 25th, 2007 12:47PM EDT

Just how many activations transpired during that first monumental weekend of iPhone sales? 500,000? 1 million? Nay, only 146,000 activations in those record-setting two days where finding an iPhone was comparable to last year’s Christmas rush and the Nintendo Wii. Sure, those numbers are nothing to bat your eyelashes at; on the contrary, they are QUITE impressive. Did the iPhone really bomb, however, or were the predictions by supposed industry experts completely out of line?

For our purposes, let’s be generous and give AT&T retail stores roughly 50 units a store at launch? Mind you most stores received additional shipments the following day, but let’s look at the first day, in which every AT&T store depleted their stock. It’s been reported that AT&T operates “more than 1,800 retail store locations,” so that will put us at  90,000 iPhones sold in these locations. Click on for the rest of our sales predictions!

Again, for our purposes, let’s estimate stock at the 164 Apple stores nationwide in the neighborhood of 2,000. We know first day sales estimates at the Fifth Avenue (New York) and Lenox Square (Atlanta) stores were in the neighborhood of $2 million and $600K, respectively, so that would give us rough estimations of 3,000 and 900 units sold in either store. For that launch weekend, we’ll use 2,000 as the base sales estimate for each Apple store, placing us at roughly 328,000 units sold.

This would bring our very rough estimate to 418,000 iPhones sold on launch weekend. In hindsight, perhaps Apple and AT&T’s greatest success for both customers and sales personnel on launch weekend – the convenience of purchasing the device at a retail store and activating it at home – may have been their greatest disaster. At a ratio of one-in-three devices activated, one would have to wonder what that number would look like if they forced activations upon purchase rather than shooting for customer convenience and record-setting sales number. These impressive numbers may not necessarily hurt Apple’s iPocketBook, but they would represent a disaster for AT&T. Perhaps 146,000 activations, or roughly $11 million in monthly revenue, is not that bad of a number, but it fails in comparison to industry estimates for sales and expected revenue based on these sales numbers.

Apple’s stock tumbled $8.81 per share on NASDAQ.

Even our resident BlackBerry expert Jibi is wondering how these numbers are a bad thing for Apple. For a hardware manufacturer, what do activations have to do with total unit sales numbers? Apple sold 400-500,000 devices in two days. AT&T only activated a third of these, which is a direct impact on monthly service plan revenue and perhaps that impacts the unique revenue and profit sharing between the two companies, but how does this really impact Apple’s bottom line for the sales figures for this device? What do you guys think?

Jonathan Geller Founder, President & Editor-in-chief

Jonathan Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of the newly formed BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.