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The US temporarily regains relevance for Apple's iPhone

Sprint reported its first iPhone quarter sales at 1.8 million. You may recall my analysis of Sprint’s “gamble” where I estimated that Sprint will easily sell the 31 million iPhone which they committed to buy from Apple. I had estimated that they could sell an average of 7 million units a year but perhaps conservatively they could ramp at 4, 6, 9 and 12 over the four year period rumored to be in the contract.

Given the pent-up demand I also estimated that the first quarter could reach 2 million units. They managed 1.8 and that’s a solid start. Overall the US carriers activated 13.7 million iPhones. Here are the iPhone activations by US Operator:

That’s 37% of the total market in Q4, shown in area and bar charts below:

 

Note that the percent of total activations outside the US has dropped but that is due to the limited distribution of the iPhone 4S outside the US in the launch quarter. The long-term trend is for the US to decrease as a percent of total iPhones even with the additional US distribution.

By comparing the net adds to US install base from comScore survey data, we can estimate that about 63% of US purchases of iPhones were replacements and that 8.7 million iPhones were put out of use in the US last quarter.