How AT&T factored into Apple’s missed ‘whisper’ number

“Fewer mobile phone upgrades at AT&T in the June quarter may have contributed to Apple missing its iPhone “whisper number” when reporting fiscal Q3 earnings, which punished its stock, says BTIG Research,” Reinhardt Krause reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “AT&T (NYSE:T) has been a key marketing partner of Apple since 2007, when it became the first wireless firm to sell the iPhone. AT&T and the other national wireless firms — Verizon Communications, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint — have recently shifted to new promotions that make it easier for subscribers to upgrade smartphones.”

“Walter Piecyk, an analyst at BTIG Research, said the new plans may be altering the historical seasonality and cyclicality of smartphone sales. And AT&T’s own marketing strategy may be less in sync than before with Apple’s, he noted,” Krause reports. “‘AT&T’s device upgrade rate unexpectedly dropped to a record low in Q2 resulting in an estimated 1.2 million fewer smartphones sold than we expected,’ wrote Piecyk in a report published on Tuesday.”

Krause reports, “According to Piecyk’s math, ‘The 1.2 million smartphone miss by AT&T translates to iPhone sales that were 750,000 lower than expected, assuming Apple achieved 60% market share of post-paid smartphone sales and some lightness in pre-paid iPhone sales. In EPS terms, 750,000 phones represent $500 million of revenue and 2 cents in EPS… this 750,000 miss may have contributed to the shortfall that lead to the selloff in Apple’s stock as many expected an additional 2 million iPhones to be sold during the quarter.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good old AT&T.

BTW: Piecyk’s call of 80 million iPhone units sold in the 2015 holiday quarter is quite a statement.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. How could this be “unexpected,” when a blind monkey could see that AT&T would not see the same upgrade rates? Why? They no long sell subsidized phones. The NEXT plan is a scam. My contract is up in December, I’ll upgrade then. I’d upgrade now… SPRINT or T-Mobile would pay any fees to drop AT&T, but I might as well wait for new hardware. This is most certainly not “unexpected.”

  2. Oh please, give me a break. AT&T had nothing to do with it. The industry as a whole has stopped subsidizing (read paying the up front cost of) phones in exchange for contracts. Now you have to actually afford to pay for the phones you buy and a 2 year agreement is no longer the same as cash. It’s like that in every other part of the world and it’s time the US operates like this as well. Apple has 2 choices – they can either sacrifice some of their already astronomical margins or just deal with the possibility of less sales to those who can’t afford to pay $900 for a bloody phone. That simple. AT&T didn’t set Apples margins, Apple did – this is their issue to bare since they created the issue for themselves

    1. Actually, this change has probably impacted Samsung harder. Now that people have to pay about the same price for an Android phone that they would pay for an iPhone, only the fools continue to waste money on junk.

    1. Or AT&T is facing increased iPhone competition from T-Mobile and Sprint, particularly with their “we’ll pay your termination fees” promotions, which let people upgrade earlier by getting out of their AT&T contract but moving to a new carrier, thus fewer AT&T upgrades.

  3. I really enjoy this baloney that AAPL missed. They missed “analysts” estimates. These guys do not analyze relaibly, start having a contest of whom will guess highest and then claim when they are dead wrong that AAPL “missed”. Trust me. AAPL does not give whispers.

    1. Also what people forget is Apple actually “beat” analyst estimates for revenue and EPS. It just “missed” on number of iPhones (though beat on revenue of iPhones).

    2. Apple can be easily rigged to fail. If analysts are working for brokerage houses, they can simply make up numbers that Apple can’t possibly beat or they can lower expectations that rival companies can easily beat. I believe this stuff is fully planned and I’m surprised it doesn’t throw up any flags. It’s a no-win situation for Apple shareholders.

      Apple’s share price can be held within a very narrow range at will. I can only hope Apple continues to buy up whatever shares with the amount of money remaining and then stop with this share repurchasing nonsense. I don’t see how it helps Apple shareholders at all. If Apple sank that money into some venture that would return revenue it would certainly be more useful. Apple’s EPS is already fairly high and yet there are these companies with low EPS and they’re blowing Apple away in share gains. How can Apple pour tens of billions into share repurchases and yet the company value continues to sink. That money is disappearing down a black hole.

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