Approximately 1.7 million consumers bought iPhone 4s in its first three days of sale, sending Apple more than US$1 billion in revenue. Research from Yankee Group ( shows that those same consumers will be worth more than $1.8 billion to AT&T this year, and more than $9 billion to it over the next five years.

“Apple iPhone owners shop more, buy more and remain more loyal to their phones than users of other devices,” says Carl Howe, Yankee Group research director and author of the new report. “Our surveys tell us that Apple is the most popular choice of consumers shopping for a new smartphone. Because those subscribers will earn more revenue for operators, mobile operators worldwide should be courting them.:

Key data from the report reveals iPhone users:

° Are younger and wealthier. IPhone users average 32 years of age with $100,000 of household income, compared with other smartphone users, who average 34 years of age with $85,000 of household income.

° Spend more time on the mobile Internet. The average mobile phone user spends 19 minutes a day browsing the mobile Internet. Smartphone users spend 32 minutes a day, while iPhone users top the scales at 37 minutes.

° Do more with their phones. The average iPhone customer downloaded nearly 13 apps during the past 90 days; other smartphone owners average less than half that. In addition, iPhone owners are more interested in mobile transactions and conduct more m-commerce than users of other smartphones and mobile phones.

° Deliver their carrier a higher five-year value than users of other smartphones. Despite the fact that iPhone owners incur more bandwidth costs to the carrier, iPhone owners represent $5,345 in net revenue after subtracting out subsidies and bandwidth costs over five years, compared with just $5,097 for other smartphone owners.