With more carriers offering the iPhone than ever before, it is glaringly obvious that AT&T’s share of iPhone customers has to be on the decline, but by how much?

New research carried out by Localytics offers an insight into just which carriers US buyers sided with when deciding to buy an iPhone, with the iPhone 4S launch seeing Sprint join the fray. While AT&T’s share of the iPhone market has fallen slightly, Sprint is starting to put a dent into Verizon’s former customer base…

Sprint’s entrance into the iPhone market has seen AT&T’s share of iPhone customers fall from 60% to 56%, according to the report. It is Verizon who has suffered the biggest loss. When the iPhone 4 launched on its network, Verizon took 40% of the iPhone market in the US. Now, with Sprint offering both the iPhone 4 and 4S to customers, Verizon’s 40% is down to 32%.

Sprint finds itself with a healthy 12% — not bad for a company that has only been offering an iPhone to customers for a few weeks.

The reason for the swing, according to Localytics, is the fact that Verizon’s iPhone-toting customers still have nearly two years on their iPhone 4 contracts. AT&T, by contrast, has thousands of iPhone 3GS customers with older handsets desperate for an upgrade.

“Looking at iPhone 4 distribution as a comparison, Sprint seems to have eroded more of Verizon’s market share than AT&T’s – of the previous-generation handset, 60% are on AT&T versus 40% on Verizon.

A likely driver for these differences is the fact that AT&T can mine its existing base of iPhone users. Because all Verizon iPhone users are in the first year of their wireless contract, the cost of upgrading will be high. However, many longer-term AT&T users, especially those holding iPhone 3GS and earlier devices, are off-contract or nearing the end of their contract. AT&T has been aggressively leveraging the iPhone 4S to sign these customers to new two-year contracts, and the data in this study suggests that tactic may be working.”

Makes sense to us!

Which carrier did you go with for the iPhone 4S, and more importantly, why?

  • I got At&t because of the great service and fast data speed in my area.

  • Mark Brammer

    I have verizon bc having more reception in more places is more important to me than data speed, although verizon has been pretty fast for me

  • Sprint because I was sick of running edge on a hacked Tmobile iPhone 4 and the deal my company got was only a whopping 4 dollars a month higher than what I was paying Tmo!

  • I find these numbers confusing. Maybe I’m reading wrong. You mean to tell me that nobody bought an iPhone 4 with Sprint in 2011?

    • Adam D

      Only the 4S is officially available from Sprint. iPhone 4 users on Sprint would have unlocked an AT&T iPhone to use the network.


      • What? AT&T doesn’t even use CDMA, they use GSM. I think you’re getting Sprint confused with T-mobile. Sprint DOES officially sell the iPhone 4 thanks in part to Verizon who also uses CDMA technology.

      • Adam D

        Wait… Sprint’s CDMA? My bad. I don’t really know much about it because I don’t live in the US.


  • KewlDewd

    I’m on AT&T because I’ve been with them for a long time and I’ve had no complaints.

    Is Verizon and Sprint the same company or does this guy not know what “cannibalize” means?

  • Anonymous

    AT&T , cause I have unlimited data grandfathered , hspa+ is super fast , my 6,000 rollovers , talk and surf the web at the same time

  • Jason Jefferson

    im with at&t because i can talk and surf at the same time the other guys cant …..and did i fail to mention the fast data speeds

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had AT&T for several years now. I have an iPhone 3G and recently went into a Sprint Store (it was next door to a barber shop, so why not check it out.) I played with their 4S and tried the similar tests that were done here on iDB with the showdown. Sprint was TERRIBLY slower than my 3G!! I do enjoy the talk and surf, rollover, and speeds with data. I think the only other carrier I would consider if Verizon….but again, like to talk and surf. I will be with AT&T for a while. Verizon has no voice coverage in my house. I have to walk outside to get decent phone coverage.

  • I’m running in iphone 4 Att but they need to fix the data plan 🙂 only 2G on data to bad

  • reggfx

    I’m dropping Sprint because of their sudden and sneaky change of dropping their “Bill to Account” program. An i’m a customer of almost 12 years! Sprint rep told me they dropped this for existing loyal customers as part of a deal so they could carry iPhone… I recently found this out when my phone broke and i had to make an emergency trip to a sprint store and i was told i needed to upgrade. So i started the process only to find out at check out that “Bill To Account” has been “terminated”. How bout that for customer service. Sprint Execs, did you see what happened to Netflix when they got greedy!? Loyal customers left in droves… Netflix had to issue an apology for the sudden change. We are truly living in a time of the end for Customer service and retention.