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  • Life's Rich Pageant

    • 8 out of 10
    • R.E.M.
    • In the long series of R.E.M.'s evolution, this album (finally?) showcases their ability to capture on tape what had been happening in the live for years: heartfelt, sweat-filled performances that just
  • Zooropa

    • 10 out of 10
    • U2
    • This record is perhaps U2's finest hour, yet it has been forgotten as a strange by-product of the ZooTV tour's overload, and is generally regarded by most fans as a poor effort. It is this sentiment t
  • The Wall (Deluxe Packaging Digitally Remastered)

    • 10 out of 10
    • Pink Floyd
    • Okay, someone had to say it, and though others on the iPO staff are more qualified to review this album, I decided the time was now. This is the quintessential concept album. Though others came before
  • Haunted

    • 10 out of 10
    • Poe
    • Dropping like a bomb on some of the blah musical offerings of her contemporaries, Haunted was one of the best albums of 2000, obliterating the competition.

      Ostensibly a tie-in to her brot

  • The Dresden Dolls

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Dresden Dolls
    • The energetic duet of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione that make up the Dresden Dolls have created a wonderfully haunting sound in their self-titled album. They have been able to construct an imme

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iPhone #1 Revenue Online Generator for AT&T, #9 in Unit Sales

Despite being #9 in unit sales for AT&T, the iPhone is the company's #1 revenue generator online, according to a report published by comScore Wednesday. The firm said that flagship phone offerings from Apple (iPhone), HTC (G1), and RIM (BlackBerry Storm) were generating substantially more revenue for their carriers, despite their much lower unit sales ranking.

Sprint's Instinct by Samsung was the one exception to this finding, as it was the #7 revenue generator for Sprint, and #15 in unit sales.

Flagship Phone Unit Sales (New, Postpaid Lines Only)
November 2008 - January 2009
Wireless Carrier
Ranking by
Sales revenue
Ranking by
Unit Sales
AT&T Apple iPhone
Sprint Samsung Instinct
T-Mobile HTC G1
Verizon BlackBerry Storm

The firm's study measured shopping and purchasing behavior at the four major U.S. carriers in terms of handset sales and mobile data plans. While much of the coverage on the Apple's iPhone tends to be focused on the smartphone subset of the market, comScore's report measured this data across the spectrum of the carrier's product offerings, including all of the free (via subsidy) phones, refurbished phones, etc.

The results of the report are that it's the higher-end customers that are bringing in the most money for the carriers. While not specifically addressed in the report, one of the contributing factors would be the fact that the iPhone, Storm, and G1 all need data plans to take advantage of their smartphoness, and the carriers are able to charge a premium for those data plans in part because of the exclusive deals to carry their respective phones.

High End Pays for Carriers

The report also noted that an overwhelming percentage of all four carriers' top selling phones were given away for free (with contracts), meaning that the company's aren't seeing much, if any, revenue from the lowest end of the market.

Top Handset by Unit Sales (Postpaid Only, New and Refurbished Phones)
November 2008 - January 2009
Wireless Carrier
Top Selling Handset
Percent Sold That
Were Free
AT&T LG Shine (Refurb)
Sprint LG Rumor
T-Mobile Motorola RIZR Z3
Verizon LG VX8350

To add further context for how Apple and its smart phone competitors fit into the cell phone market, we should look at the percentage of phones that are free to users (with contracts):

Top Units Sold that Were Free
(Postpaid Only, New and Refurbished Phones)
November 2008 - January 2009
Wireless Carrier
Percent of Total
Units Sold for Free

Apple's iPhone is also subsidized by AT&T -- most estimates place that figure at approximately $400 per iPhone -- but consumers do pay for part of the device directly. Apple's 8GB iPhone is priced at $199 with a two year contract, while the 16GB unit is priced at $299.

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