Q2 2021: AT&T Has a Strong Wireless Performance

From the perspective of hardware sales, AT&T had a strong Q2 2021. Smartphone sales were up 31% YoY. The carrier sold over five million smartphones within postpaid and about 1.6 million smartphones within its prepaid brands. The third largest carrier in the US saw 789,000 postpaid net additions and 174,000 prepaid phone net additions. These were solid wireless results. The selloff of some international assets and media units will continue to help AT&T focus on its 5G rollout and new service offerings. For complete AT&T and Q2 2021 results, click here.

Interesting takeaways from AT&T’s quarterly results:

  • AT&T’s ‘upgrade the base’ campaign remains on track and successful. The carrier seems committed to this expensive but effective way of reducing churn and pushing subscribers onto unlimited 5G services.
  • AT&T’s service revenues grew 5%. Impressive growth, which will likely keep AT&T aggressive on upgrading the base.
  • Equipment revenues were up 32% YoY. Much of the growth was due to a poor Q2 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns. However, even after taking COVID-19 into account, smartphone sales were strong, and AT&T punched above its weight selling iPhones and flagships during the quarter. Again, much of this can be attributed to the same promotions being offered to its base – the best deals are not reserved for ‘switchers’ coming from other carriers.
  • AT&T is divesting its media units. DirecTV was a disaster. TimeWarner faces similar problems plus it was hit during COVID-19 as cinemas and sports activities were shut down for many months. It appears AT&T is worried about debt and will focus more on wireless, 5G and new 5G services, reducing the leverage of media. Verizon is ahead of AT&T here, already divesting most of its media investment errors.
  • AT&T continues to invest to grow digital sales. Counterpoint’s Online, Offline Channel Share Tracker estimates online sales increased to over 33% during COVID-19 but have reverted to just above pre-COVID levels. Prepaid is slower to transition to online sales. AT&T will be adding more Cricket authorized retailers, which will help its prepaid business.
  • To further help digital sales, AT&T is adding same-day delivery. AT&T aims for “more sales via less stores”. This is an especially good goal for postpaid, which is more accustomed to digital purchases.
  • AT&T is focusing on improving the customer experience, shortening sales distribution, and quickening customer service responses. T-Mobile has done a nice job improving in this area and AT&T is pushing in similar areas. This will help keep churn low.
  • Within prepaid, LG volumes will be quickly selling through for good. Moto and Samsung have been the first OEMs to gain on LG’s void. Top-sellers within prepaid have been the Moto G Power 2021, Moto G Play, Samsung Galaxy A01 and Samsung Galaxy A12.
  • Surprisingly, AT&T sounds less optimistic about fixed wireless access (FWA) than Verizon and T-Mobile. The carrier is focusing on AT&T Fiber and its faster speeds. It continues to add fixed broadband subscribers — 246,000 during the quarter — and penetration has increased to 36%. AT&T expects to add over one million fiber broadband subscribers in 2021.
  • AT&T added 4.2 million connected device subscribers during the quarter. It had a very solid wearables quarter. Connected cars continue to be strong, too.
Jeff has 25+ years experience in technology research, business development, competitive intelligence, and business management. Prior to joining Counterpoint Research, Jeff held various research & product development roles at Microsoft, Nokia, Roth Capital Partners, and Gartner. Jeff is a member of many telecom industry organizations including Colorado Wireless Association,, CommNexus, and is a regular speaker at major telecom industry events. He was a 4x NCAA all-American in tennis and is a 12-time finisher of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.