Apple achieved a near 50 per cent share of smartphone sales with the largest US operator Verizon, even before the release of the latest iPhone.

In the three months to end-August, Kantar WorldPanel ComTech data shows overall US smartphone sales shares for Apple and Samsung were nearly tied, at 35 per cent and 35.2 percent respectively. However, the research company noted weaker Samsung sales at Verizon allowed Apple to achieve almost a 50 per cent share of sales at the operator (the company did not cite a share for Samsung).

Notably, Apple’s share of smartphone sales at Verizon was greater than at AT&T, which is a traditional iOS “stronghold”, Kantar’s Global Business Unit director Dominic Sunnebo observed.

AT&T reported in an regulatory filing this week it had approximately 900,000 fewer handset equipment upgrades in Q3 2017 compared to the same period of 2016, likely due to customers waiting for the release of the iPhone X next month.

“Apple maintained strong momentum in the US one month before the release of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus [in September], and grew its sales share by 3.7 percentage points year-on-year, compared to Samsung’s growth of 0.8 percentage points,” Sunnebo said.

A breakdown of sales by operating system showed iOS increased its US share to 35 per cent from 31.3 per cent in the same period of 2016. However, Android remained top of the heap, despite the platform’s share dropping from 66.1 per cent in the 2016 period to 63.1 per cent in 2017.

Kantar noted some of Apple’s gains came from a drop in Microsoft’s Windows OS market share from 2.3 per cent in 2016 to 1.3 per cent.

The research company reported Apple made also gains in smartphone sales in China, Germany, France and Spain, but lost out in the UK thanks to strong Samsung promotions in the country over the three months.