News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday August 08, 2013.
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There's a new chart every other week pointing out how Android significantly outpaces Apple iOS based on surveys and estimates from research analysts. However, official sales statements from carriers in the United States shows the competition is much closer in the U.S.. To be clear, Android is the most dominant operating system globally, reaching as much as 79.3 percent of the 236 million smartphones shipped last quarter, according to IDC. The disparity is not nearly as high domestically.
T-Mobile today revealed that the Apple iPhone accounted for roughly 1.24 million of the 4.3 million smartphones that it sold in the second quarter. I then combined those figures with the estimates of the three other major carriers: 1.4 million of 5 million for Sprint, 3.7 million of 5.1 million for AT&T, and 3.8 million of 7.5 million for Verizon. The iPhone sales mean that Apple's iOS accounts for 10.14 million of the approximately 22 million smartphones sold at the major carriers, or 46 percent. That leaves 54 percent for all other operating systems. None of the carriers provided specifics for Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone, but it's safe to assume that Android got more than the lions share of those sales, leaving Windows Phone and BlackBerry with just a small portion.
Nielsen today reported that iOS accounts for only 40 percent of U.S. market share based on its research. Nielsen concludes that Android is "winning" the U.S. market because it commands 52 percent. Nielsen and almost every other chart of the U.S. market factors in reports from the entire market, not just the top carriers. Few of the smaller carriers in the U.S. offer the iPhone as an option to consumers. U.S. Cellular will begin selling the iPhone later this year, but Cricket, C-Spire, and a handful of regional carriers already offer the device.
Android continues to dominate the U.S. market because there are not enough sales at the smaller carriers, where entry-level and midrange Android phones are a far more appealing option. The high costs of offering the iPhone keeps many carriers from selling the device and keeps many consumers from buying it. That's why there's so much talk of Apple supposedly developing low-cost iPhones to sell in the developing world. The company may need to do the same in its own backyard to chip away at Android's overall lead in the U.S. market, but Apple's clearly doing quite well when looking at performance at the top carriers in the country.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.