: Looking for clues about iPhone supply? Ask AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Stock Market

How have iPhone sales have fared in the wake of production constraints on high-end models? Wall Street likely won’t get a clear answer until Apple Inc. reports earnings later this month, but some public companies may have just offered a few clues. While users can buy new iPhones at Apple’s
AAPL,
-1.06%
stores or website, they can also get them through their wireless carriers. Apple doesn’t typically give updates on its business outside of earnings season — aside from a rare November warning about the effect of COVID-19 restrictions on the production of iPhone 14 Pro devices at a major Foxconn facility in China — but the wireless carriers tend to make more public statements.

All three major U.S. carriers sent representatives to a Citi investment conference Wednesday, and while they largely weren’t asked about iPhones specifically, they fielded questions about whether they saw inventory constraints on “high-end smartphones” during the fourth quarter. “There was clearly some dislocation” that “probably did impact some volumes,” AT&T Inc.
T,
+0.37%
Chief Financial Officer Pascal Desroches said at the conference, according to a transcript provided by Sentieo/AlphaSense. But as the quarter wore on, the “situation got better,” he continued. Peter Osvaldik, the chief financial officer of T-Mobile US Inc.
TMUS,
+3.23%,
also acknowledged some shortages during the quarter while noting improvement. “I don’t anticipate there was a lot of spillover [into the first quarter] because a lot of that got healthy by the end of the quarter,” he said at the event. T-Mobile shared its fourth-quarter subscriber numbers in conjunction with the conference, which one analyst called “solid.” Verizon Communications Inc.
VZ,
+1.39%
struck a similarly upbeat tone about how conditions ended up working out. “There were days [with] complicated lead times, but we sorted that out,” Chief Executive Hans Vestberg said. He noted that “there is basically no spillover right now, at least for us.” Investors could continu …

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