AT&T leads on iPhone activations but Verizon leads on Android, study shows

Despite the fact that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone is available through Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and other carriers, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) lead all U.S. carriers in terms of iPhone activations during the past few months, according to a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

The research firm surveyed consumers who activated smartphones between June and August 2012, and found that iPhone activations were the highest at AT&T. The report suggests that AT&T is benefiting from being the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer the iPhone. The report was first noted by AllThingsD.

According to the survey, the iPhone made up around a quarter of Verizon's activations during the period, but the majority of activations for Verizon were for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. At Sprint, although Android activations outpaced iPhone activations, the proportions were roughly similar. At T-Mobile USA, Android dominated the picture, since the carrier does not offer the iPhone directly (though it claims to have more than 1 million unlocked iPhones on its network). At all four carriers, activations for Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone represented small minorities of activations, with Blackberry performing better than Windows Phone. 

"AT&T has clearly benefited from their early iPhone exclusivity," CIRP co-founder Michael Levin told AllThingsD. "iPhones still account for more than half of their activations. Android makes up about a third, followed by a very small number of BlackBerrys and basic phones. Verizon has a more diversified operating system base. Android phones account for about half of activations there, iPhones about a quarter. They also activate a surprising number of basic phones."

Those proportions may change with the introduction of the iPhone 5, which runs on LTE networks. Analysts have said Verizon will have an advantage in marketing the iPhone 5 over the next few quarters since it has the largest LTE network, covering around 235 million POPs. Yet both AT&T and Sprint have reported strong pre-order sales of the iPhone. Additionally, the market will be flooded this holiday shopping season with more Android smartphones and Windows Phone 8 devices looking to cut into Apple's sales.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article

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