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  (Source: Edible Blog)
iPhone likely seized over a half of all U.S. smartphone sales

AT&T Inc.'s (T) blowout quarter was newsworthy enough, but it dropped a bit of a shocker in its numbers release -- 7.6 million iPhone activated for the quarter, with 9.4 million smartphones sold.  That means the iPhone outsold Android and Windows Phone combined nearly 4-to-1 on America's largest carrier.

(Now some have pointed out that "activated" phones can include third party sales, free phones, etc. and are distrustful of AT&T's assertion that the "majority" of activated iPhones are iPhone 4Ss... in other words they're saying that Verizon and AT&T's iPhone numbers are skewed in Apple's favor.  But a report indicates that 9 out of 10 iPhones purchased are iPhone 4Ss -- and much of the remainder is likely iPhone 4 sales, so this seems like sour grapes. -JM)

Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) success with iPhone 4S is so startling that it deserves a recap:

The players:
  1. Verizon Wireless
    (joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD))
  2. AT&T
  3. Sprint Nextel Corp. (S)
  4. Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA
Results (Confirmed: AT&T and Verizon; Pending: Sprint and T-Mobile's, italicized):

iPhone dominates
So, the disclaimer here is that Sprint and T-Mobile did not report their quarterly earnings yet, much less their smartphone sales.  And judging by past earnings reports, Sprint may not give solid numbers for iPhone sales and neither carrier is likely to give concrete estimates of smartphone sales.  But there's no reason, based on past numbers, to expect these carriers to be selling smartphones at a significantly higher per-subscriber percentage than Verizon/AT&T.

Let's say we're horribly off and that the iPhone sold only ~52%.  Recent estimates show Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) to hold about 6% of U.S. sales, while Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and others took up about 5 percent of sales.  That would place Android at around 37%.

The odd thing is even the best analyst estimates didn't see this coming.  They predicted a near tie for Apple in the U.S., but did not predict an Apple victory to this extent.

Android and Apple have had a dramatic role reversal.  Ironically this reversal came on a launch that many analysts complained lacked enough new features (the only major upgrade was Siri) to impress buyers.  

iPhone 4S
Analysts thought the iPhone 4S would flop.  How wrong they were.
[Image Source: The Tech Journal]

The iPhone on AT&T was boosted in part due to strong legacy sales -- the iPhone 4 retails for $99 USD with 2-year contract on AT&T, while the iPhone 3GS is free with contract.

Will the mass-market invasion of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in H1 2012 stem the rising iPhone tide?  Will Windows Phone finally gain a leg up in the U.S. market? There are plenty of unknowns for the upcoming year, but it is clear that Apple absolutely owned the holiday 2011 U.S. sales.

Source: AT&T

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any one else find the number of subsribes high?
By michal1980 on 1/26/2012 3:49:21 PM , Rating: 3
add them up, you get ~298 MILLION cell phone users?

There are only 312 Million people in the USA. 95% of them have cell phones?

By tng on 1/26/2012 4:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but I know several people that have both business and personal cells, but yeah, seems strange.

By Solandri on 1/26/2012 4:22:09 PM , Rating: 2
~300 million cell phones sounds about right. Penetration/saturation is very high, and many people have more than one phone.

By nafhan on 1/26/2012 4:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
"Subscribers" is probably the wrong label for that column of data. The number almost certainly is a measure of "active cell phones" rather than individual users. That in mind, the number of active phones sounds plausible due to things like business owned cell phones, people with multiple "lines", etc.

By Aloonatic on 1/26/2012 6:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of people have 2, one for work and one for personal use.

I would not be surprised if the number of phones with active SIMs in a country like the USA or UK is greater than the number of residents, even including children and the elderly.

Also, congratulations to everyone who has bought a phone that they are happy with. The all pretty much do the same thing at the end of the day.

By anactoraaron on 1/26/2012 6:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Corporations are people too" and thus corporate/business phones each count as subscribers.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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