As my Tomi Ahonen Phone Book 2010 tells us, a fifth of US mobile phone accounts are multiple accounts meaning that one in four US cellphone owners today has two accounts. And these tend to be smartphone owners. So for example, a white collar worker in a well-paid job may have a Blackberry from work as the company phone, and then bought an iPhone as the personal phone. About one in four US mobile phone owners will actually have two active accounts.
The iPhone has been around in the US market for 3.5 years already, so for most who 'really wanted it' (and could afford it) they had had the chance to get the iPhone. Even for those who were locked in long-term contracts who had just signed a new contract a little before the original iPhone launched, has had now time to get a new contract, and would this year get another new contract, giving ample time to get the iPhone if they wanted it.
Note this is different from France or to a lesser extent Britain. I would not be surprised to find many analysts celebrate how greatly the iPhone sales and market share grew in France after the iPhone went from one carrier/operator to all three in France.
France got the iPhone six months after it launched in the USA and only a year after Orange of France started selling the iPhone on an exclusive deal, the rival networks SFR and Bouygues both received the iPhone. So the ability for the rival networks to capitalize on 'virgin' iPhone users was far greater than it now is in the USA.
When I did my very deep regional analysis and preview just before the iPhone launched in 2007, in my Crunching the Numbers analysis, I explained that AT&T could use the iPhone as a weapon to steal valuable premium customers from the rival networks.
And we've heard repeatedly from AT&T that many of its iPhone buyers were new customers to AT&T, not just existing AT&T customers upgrading from featurephones to the iPhone. For example when AT&T reported on 1Q numbers for 2010, it said 33 percent of iPhone activations were new accounts, not upgrades of existing accounts. The strategy has worked very well for AT&T.
What is the US market in size? The US market is about a quarter of the world's smartphones, so it will end up at about 75 million smartphones sold for the full year 2010. Google's Android family of devices is currently the best-selling smartphones in the US market.
Apple has passed Blackberry during 2010 and is now the biggest selling single smartphone brand in smartphones in North America. For 3Q Apple had 26 percent market share. For the latest 12 months (4Q'2009 to 3Q 2010) Apple has sold 14.5 million iPhones in the USA. Apple's total iPhones sold in the same period was 40 million.
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