One in Three iPhone 3G Buyers Bailed on Their Carrier (Half Were From Verizon)

Whether people were holding out for 3G, the $199 pricepoint or just for their damn contracts to run out, in a market where carriers are pretty much forced to steal customers from each other, the iPhone 3G has been a Batman-worthy thief. One out of three iPhone 3G buyers jumped from other carriers to AT&T, though it might surprise where they came from.

Even though Sprint is the only major carrier actually bleeding out subscribers , they were source of the fewest iPhone 3G AT&T converts—only 19 percent. Surprisingly—and probably gleefully, for AT&T—nearly half came from its biggest and most bitter rival, Verizon. At a 47 percent attrition rate, more fled from it than T-Mobile (24 percent) and Sprint combined, and almost double T-Mobile.

Granted, that's in part due to the fact that Verizon is simply bigger. But besides showing just how much of a boon the iPhone 3G was for AT&T in terms of bringing in new customers, it throws into relief just how much Verizon needs its own headline-grabbing handset—a role they're obviously hoping will be picked up by the BlackBerry Storm. But whether it'll actually pull in new customers, stop some from bolting or just slow 'em down out the door remains to be seen.

In the meantime, iPhone sales swallowed 17 percent of the smartphone market between January and August of this year—largely thanks to the 3G, which shoved it up from 11 percent—pushing past the Curve, Pearl and Centro. Not too shabby.

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. —(Business Wire)— Oct 06, 2008 According to a new report from The NPD Group, the leader in market research for the wireless industry, 30 percent of U.S. consumers who purchased Apple’s new iPhone 3G from June through August 2008 switched from other mobile carriers to join AT&T, the exclusive mobile carrier for the iPhone in the U.S. By way of comparison just 23 percent of consumers, on average, switched carriers between June and August 2008. Nearly half (47 percent) of new AT&T iPhone customers that switched carriers switched from Verizon Wireless, another 24 percent switched from T-Mobile, and 19 percent switched from Sprint.

“The launch of the lower-priced iPhone 3G was a boon to overall consumer smartphone sales,” according to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “While the original iPhone also helped win customers for AT&T, the faster network speeds of the iPhone 3G has proven more appealing to customers that already had access to a 3G network.”

According to NPD’s “iPhone 3G Report,” before the launch of the iPhone 3G, iPhone sales represented 11 percent of the consumer market for smartphones (January through May 2008); however, after the launch of iPhone 3G, Apple commanded 17 percent of the smartphone market (January through August 2008).

The average price of a smartphone sold between June and August 2008 was $174, down 26 percent from $236 during the same period last year. During June through August 2008, the top four best-selling smartphones based on unit-sales to consumers were as follows:
1. Apple iPhone 3G
2. RIM Blackberry Curve
3. RIM Blackberry Pearl
4. Palm Centro

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically-representative sample, and results are projected to represent the entire population of U.S. consumers. Note: Sales figures do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales. For more information about NPD’s offerings in this business sector, visit http://wireless.npd.com.

[VPO]