AT&T predicts record smartphone sales in 4th qtr

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DALLAS (AP) — AT&T Inc. expects to sell a record number of smartphones in the fourth quarter, with a boost from the newest iPhone.

The wireless carrier’s chief financial officer, John Stephens, said at a conference Wednesday in New York that AT&T sold about 6 million smart phones in October and November. As is the case for many companies, December tends to be AT&T’s best month for sales, so the company now thinks it will sell more than 6.1 million smartphones during the quarter — its previous record for quarterly sales.

Apple Inc.’s iPhone hit store shelves in October, and though it wasn’t a totally revamped version as many had expected, sales have been massive.

On Wednesday, Sterne, Agee & Leach Equity Research bumped its expectations for total sales of the iPhone to 28 million, from 26 million.

Stephens also noted AT&T’s goal of making its high-speed 4G LTE network available to 70 million cellphone-toting Americans by the end of December.

Shares of AT&T Inc. fell 17 cents to $29 in afternoon trading.