Verizon and T-Mobile US chipped away at AT&T’s traditional position as the leading seller of iPhones in Q3, Strategy Analytics’ Ken Hyers told Mobile World Live (MWL).
Hyers, director of Emerging Device Strategies, reported Apple had the top selling smartphone across all operators during the quarter, but revealed AT&T almost lost its shipment lead to Verizon and faced a heated challenge from third-placed T-Mobile.
At the end of the quarter, Hyers said the operators’ iPhone shipment figures were within a few thousand units of each other: “This was one of those horseraces where it was almost a photo finish.”
Hyers noted AT&T came out ahead of T-Mobile in terms of smartphone units shipped during the quarter, despite the latter’s dominance in net subscriber additions.
“The reason you have to keep in mind is even though [T-Mobile’s] numbers are so impressive…AT&T has a larger base of customers. So when it rolls around to Q3, all those iPhone customers are making the upgrade and back to school purchases, that sort of thing.”
In terms of smartphone shipments by vendor, Hyers said Strategy Analytics’ research showed Apple remained on top in Q3 despite a slight dip in market share due to pent up demand for the iPhone X. Hyers said Apple usually takes between 32 per cent and 33 per cent of shipment volumes across operators, but was “a couple [of] percentage points down” on the range this time around.
But Apple’s slide didn’t translate into big gains for Samsung. Hyers said the South Korea-based smartphone vendor posted a year-on-year improvement on the strength of its Galaxy Note 8, but added he was expecting a greater residual bump from the late Q2 launch of the S8 than actually occurred in the quarter.
Overall, Hyers reported Samsung exited Q3 with 25 per cent market share across US operators.