This morning Verizon Communications posted a great set of financial results for Q1. In the wireless business, Verizon added 667,000 new subscribers, activated 7.2 million smartphones and posted an 8.6% year over year rise in wireless service revenue.
Out of the 7.2 million smartphones, Verizon disclosed that 4 million were iPhones. This means the other 3.2 million were some other platform, and we know the majority of these were Android phones, with a smaller mix of BlackBerry and Windows in there.
What’s interesting is to see that iOS share has risen in the last year at Verizon. I don’t have last year’s numbers handy but iPhone accounted for 56% of Verizon smartphone sales this quarter. According to Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Raymond James (who’s views I respect), this ratio climbed versus last year.
“We believe the important analysis for iPhone trends is that it is still taking y/y share. Again, this is only one carrier, but shows that, at least in the U.S., the ecosystem strategy is working”
Obviously price competition among Android handset vendors is pretty good. Each vendor mainly competes on hardware rather than by offering an entirely enclosed ecosystem like iOS or BlackBerry.
Yet iOS share gains continue to happen inside of Verizon. This begs the question, “Will Verizon push harder to diversity?” If they do, it bodes well for BlackBerry. We already know Verizon has been more aggressive than AT&T with respect to BlackBerry Z10 promotion, and I think this will only accelerate when the Q10 arrives.
Whatever the case, it’s clear that BlackBerry is still fighting a battle. But I can see why carriers would be on their side, helping them to regain some of the lost share. It’s not necessarily a good thing to have 56% of your smartphone sales coming from the most heavily subsidized brand on the planet. It’s expensive for carriers to subsidize handsets to such a large degree.