iOS narrows smartphone gap with Android on strong T-Mobile US sales: report

Summary:Thanks to T-Mobile US finally jumping on the iPhone bandwagon, Apple's iOS share has spiked in the U.S. in recent months, narrowing the gap with its main rival Android.

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Image: CNET

Apple's iOS share has been bumped in the U.S. market by 3.5 percent during the three months ending in May, despite smartphone sales remaining "relatively stable" according to the latest research by Kantar Worldpanel.

The research firm's latest figures show T-Mobile US' iPhone sales from April helped raise the platform's share through the second quarter, narrowing the gap with Android which gained just 0.1 percent in share during the same period.

It came at a time when T-Mobile, which was then going through the motions to acquire MetroPCS — a deal it completed  and rebranded under T-Mobile US  — promised to do away with the traditional contract model.

In May, the T-Mobile US first-quarter revenue dipped by 7 percent, but added 579,000 subscribers during the period , thanks to the company's bid to finally sell the iPhone.

During this period, Kantar says the iPhone 5 became the best-selling smartphone at T-Mobile US for the three months ending May, accounting for almost one-third of all the carrier's smartphone sales. By comparison, AT&T saw 60 percent of its sales come from the iPhone and Verizon had about 44 percent, the report stated.

In spite of this, Android still retains 52 percent of the overall sales share, the report said. iOS trails behind with 41.9 percent of sales, while Windows Phone has an increasing share of nearly 5 percent of sales, up by 1 percent year-over-year.

"iOS's strength on T-Mobile appears to be the ability to attract first-time smartphone buyers upgrading from a feature phone," said Kantar Worldpanel's Dominic Sunnebo in prepared remarks. "Of T-Mobile consumers who bought an iOS device since it launched on the carrier, 53 percent had previously owned a feature phone, well above the market average of 45 percent of iOS owners who previously owned a feature phone."

The report, which also commented on the T-Mobile US current health state, said Kantar's position remains sketchy on if the strength of iOS on T-Mobile can "help reverse T-Mobile's decline," but the coming months will be important to both Apple and the cellular firm.

Apple is expected to announce the next iPhone in September or October, ahead of fourth-quarter holiday sales.

Topics: iPhone

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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