AT&T may no longer have iPhone exclusivity, but their 2007 deal with Apple continues to pay dividends. Based on apps running Localytics app analytics, 56% of Apple’s newly-launched iPhone 4S handsets are running on AT&T. Verizon, which has carried the iPhone since earlier this year, is in second place with 32% of the new handsets, while iPhone newcomer Sprint has picked up 12%.
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.