AT&T announced its earnings for Q4 2012 today, and the report has some interesting numbers about smartphone sales through the carrier.
AT&T says it sold 10.2 million smartphones. It also said it activated 8.6 million iPhones.
Now, let's be clear with the language here. Activated does not mean sold. Some of those iPhones could've been purchased unlocked directly from Apple, found used on eBay or Craigslist, or passed down from one user to another.
But it's safe to assume a large majority of those 8.6 million iPhones were new phones.
That means (if we're being conservative) at least 80% of all smartphones sold through AT&T, the second largest carrier in the U.S., were iPhones. The rest were Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or whatever else is out there.
Now let's look at Verizon's earnings last earnings report for the same quarter. Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., sold 6.2 million iPhones out of a total of 9.8 million smartphones. That means the iPhone made up 63% of Verizon's smartphone sales.
There are two big things we can learn from these two stats:
- First, when given the choice between the iPhone and something else at a similar price, U.S. consumers are overwhelmingly choosing the iPhone.
- Second, this could provide incentive for Apple to make the rumored cheaper iPhone for emerging markets where carrier subsidies don't exists the way the do in the U.S. That'll help the iPhone eat into Android's dominant market share.
Does that mean Android is losing? No. Android is still the most popular operating system in the world.
But it does mean in the U.S., the land where you can get a smartphone for relatively cheap thanks to carrier subsidies, people prefer to go with the iPhone.
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