The Upsider

A Kansas City technology, media, and marketing blog by Tyler Hillsman.

Examining the relative importance of the iPhone


As of this morning, all the major US carriers who sell the iPhone have released their Q1 2012 earnings. The carriers usually provide unit activation numbers at this time. Intrigued by news that the iPhone made up 60% of all (not just smartphone) activations on AT&T, I put the numbers in a few graphs that show the relative importance of the iPhone.

The iPhone is selling better than all the other smartphones on each of these networks combined. Additionally, it’s amazing to see the growth of smartphones in the total market. Both networks sold more smartphones than feature phones in this quarter. (Sprint is not included because they did not release smartphone or total phone sales numbers.) Amazingly, these percentages are calculated on units, not revenue or profit. With iPhones being one of the most expensive phones, the dollar amounts may be even further disproportionate.

Additionally, I compared the three major carriers on a unit-by-unit basis:

Verizon, the second largest carrier by users, actually sold the most phones in the quarter (units are measured in millions), but AT&T retained its lead on iPhone sales. It is important to note that AT&T sells three models of the iPhone (4S, 4, 3GS), while Verizon and Sprint sell two (4S, 4). Additionally, AT&T has had a head start as the former exclusive carrier. Verizon started selling the iPhone in February 2011, and Sprint started in October 2011.

All data comes from the respective companies’ Q1 2012 earnings releases.


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