Android's weak sales drive Verizon toward Apple's iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An analysis of Verizon Wireless smartphone sales over the past year indicates why the carrier is suddenly demonstrating interest in Apple's iPad and iPhone: Android isn't working out as well as once hoped, with AT&T now selling 2.5 times as many iPhones as Verizon is Android models.



According to new analysis by Asymco, data published earlier by ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman shows just how much the iPhone has done to blunt Verizon's growth, and how little Android has done to help Verizon.



Previously, AppleInsider reported how the same data indicated that Verizon's relationship with RIM's BlackBerry was being strained by Android.



BlackBerry made up over 90 percent of the carrier's smartphone mix as recently as October 2009, but was rapidly displaced by Android-based phones starting that same month with the arrival of Motorola's Droid, which was accompanied by a media blitz paid for by Verizon.



Verizon shifted its marketing efforts from BlackBerry to focus on Android because RIM was unable to deliver a phone that could compete against the iPhone. The 2008 holiday season's BlackBerry Storm was a particularly bad launch for the carrier.



A year later, Verizon's smartphone selection is now split by RIM and each of the carrier's Android licensees: Motorola, HTC, LG and Samsung. However, there's valid data for explaining why Verizon is seeking to make another platform jump, this time from Android to Apple' iOS. The carrier has already started selling the iPad, and is now rumored to be launching Apple's iPhone early next year.







Enter the iPhone



Asymco points out, graphically, that Verizon's smartphone performance with BlackBerry, Android, and Palm's webOS simply pales in comparison to AT&T's performance with Apple's iPhone.



"Verizon?s volumes grew from 2.7 million in Q1 to 3.3 million in Q3," the site reports. "Not a bad story in itself. However, the iPhone at AT&T went from 2.7 million to 5.7 million in the same time frame. Relative to just the iPhone, Verizon has been underperforming over the last quarter."



Unlike popular comparisons of global device activation numbers, mobile web "market share" and mobile advertising analytics, all of which can gerrymander markets that either include or exclude iPods and iPads and other devices, or group third world cheap devices into the same pool as high end smartphones, the report's comparison of AT&T and Verizon is one of the clearest looks yet at how iPhone sales compare to Android-based smartphones in similar circumstances.



Both carriers cover the same population and are similarly sized, with Verizon hosting 92.1 million subscribers and AT&T serving 90.1 million. Together, "AT&T and Verizon Wireless raked in 75% of all mobile data revenue in Q2 of 2010 and account for 62% of the U.S. wireless customer base," the report notes.



When looking at data by month, rather than quarterly figures, Asymco points out that Verizon's unit sales growth "hit a wall in August. Following widespread iPhone 4 availability, sales dropped." That wall was also the last straw for Palm's webOS, which since August has trickled off to nearly nothing after achieving pre-iPhone 4 sales that exceeded HTC to become Verizon's third best smartphone maker.







Three strikes for Verizon



The observation that Android isn't competing as well as Verizon once hoped, allowing the iPhone to steal Verizon's growth is "strike one" the report states. A second strike against the carrier is that, despite now having five major hardware makers in its stable, none of these are driving Verizon's unit sales growth.



Verizon's former reliance upon BlackBerry sales was not a problem because RIM was partnering with the carrier to provide "a product narrowly defined around messaging," the report stated. With Android, "Verizon is facing the prospect of a single OS supplier who may or may not maintain alignment with Verizon?s core profit algorithm. If they diverge, Verizon?s bargaining power will be strictly limited."



Strike three, the site states, is that Android is simply not competitive with Apple's iPhone. "In an apples-to-apples comparison," the report states, "in Q3 the iPhone at AT&T outsold Android at Verizon (remember, same addressable market) by a factor of 2.5. This is with a variety of devices and vendors thrown in the market. We hardly ever get to see this finely grained a comparison when looking at platforms."



The report added, "whether it?s due to brand, visibility or performance and in spite of 'antennagate' the iPhone is cleaning up."



Android performance bad enough to shift Verizon's stance on the iPhone



"It is perhaps coincidental that the rumors of a Verizon deal with Apple seem to have started in earnest right after August," the report said. "It?s thin, circumstantial evidence, but the only evidence we have to corroborate the data above is that Verizon has been signaling more desperation."



To Verizon, the report added, "Apple may be the devil, but so could be Google. Apple was predictably evil. But Google? The devil you know is perhaps better than the one you can?t predict.



"What?s more, the devil Apple seems to be helping your worst enemy way too much and the unpredictable one does not seem to help all that much."



The report concludes, "Verizon striking out means they need to change the way they play. The iPhone is a new ball game."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    I would say it has alot to do with the latest subscriber numbers and ATT is catching up to Verizon and is threatening to pass them up as the #1 cell phone carrier in the US. They are certainly within striking distance. I think that's driving Verizon's interest in Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 108
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    ...Android is "winning", I read it on teh Intarwebz.
  • Reply 3 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    ...Android is "winning", I read it on teh Intarwebz.



    Yeah, this article should drive the fandroids and DED haters apoplectic. I'm sure they are all composing rabid 1000 word replies as I type.
  • Reply 4 of 108
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Yeah, this article should drive the fandroids and DED haters apoplectic. I'm sure they are all composing rabid 1000 word replies as I type.



    I was thinking the same thing--prepare for DED as Antichrist onslaught...
  • Reply 5 of 108
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,612member
    I have many friends on Verizon that are waiting for the iPhone, and in the interim continue using plain-jane phones. They have no desire to use any of the android phones.



    These folks are not even what I would consider to be tech-literate. They are regular Joe's and Jane's. Yet for some reason, they see value with the iPhones (without any of my input to sway them) compared to what's available with the Android makers.



    If the iPhone truly does make it to Verizon's network, it will dominate their network to such an extent that they have not seen before.



    What really keeps me eating the popcorn and watching all of this unfold is what will Verizon do (or not do) in terms of keeping control of the handset, and how their network will buckle under the strain of possibly millions of new data-hog iPhones.



    Will Apple allow a Verizon logo on their phone?? How's about a pre-installed Verizon-only App store? Will they accept the possibility of being only a provider of the data-pipe? Would love to be a fly on the wall to hear Apple saying "no" to all of Verizon's whining demands.
  • Reply 6 of 108
    Read the original Asymco article. It deserves to be appreciated without being obfuscated by a third party, and a conditional element to the source data was also expressed.



    Asymco in general is a great place for Apple analysis.
  • Reply 7 of 108
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post


    I would say it has alot to do with the latest subscriber numbers and ATT is catching up to Verizon and is threatening to pass them up as the #1 cell phone carrier in the US. They are certainly within striking distance. I think that's driving Verizon's interest in Apple.



    Verizon NEVER cared about losing the number 1 crown when Cingular Wireless bought AT&T Wireless.



    Verizon NEVER expanded their prepaid or MVNO offerings so that they could catch Cingular Wireless.



    Verizon just concentrated on postpaid net adds and not cared a single day on losing the number 1 crown.
  • Reply 8 of 108
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I think Verizon needs Apple more than Apple needs Verizon, so I think Verizon has been ready to take it.





    PS: This article is Samab’s bat signal. Prepare for unrelenting defense of Verizon’s subscriber numbers.





    edit: LOL I see others beat me to it. This article title alone seem antagonistic.
  • Reply 9 of 108
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    ... PS: This article is Samab?s bat signal. Prepare for unrelenting defense of Verizon?s subscriber numbers.



    Yeah, I think it's time for samab to come clean about who he works for.
  • Reply 10 of 108
    rptrpt Posts: 173member
    Yeah, dive for cover!

    I am not very surprised, something has not added up to my experience in my job. My employer sticks to HTC as company issue, we probably have close to one thousand of the current versions, and multiples of this going back a few years. When I was able to avoid company rules and get an iPhone I had had several HTCs on Windows. They were all crap! Almost all our employees now have Android versions of HTC, and I have yet to hear anybody being really happy with what they have got.
  • Reply 11 of 108
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,854member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    ...Android is "winning", I read it on teh Intarwebz.



    In the U.S. market as a whole, it may be. There's another third of the market that also does not carry the iPhone. Both Verizon and AT&T have a third of the market, which means while Android is available to 100% of the market and the iPhone currently available to only 30%, Android is not a proportionate amount of percentage points ahead in terms of market share.



    All this data shows is that the iPhone is driving smart phone growth at AT&T at more than twice the rate as Android at Verizon. What this means to Verizon is they need to get the iPhone to lure customers into more lucrative data plans for smart phones, because Android isn't doing the job.
  • Reply 12 of 108
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    I knew iphone was doing well, but I wouldn't guess 2.5x better than Android on Verizon lol. That's impressive.



    My mother and little brother got an Android phone, I just got one a few months ago, countless friends seem to all be getting one, and my friend Lisa who isn't tech savvy in the slightest just got a Droid X and loves it, everyone on Verizon too.



    Then again, in northern Virgina, Verizon reigns supreme in their coverage...
  • Reply 13 of 108
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    ...Android is "winning", I read it on teh Intarwebz.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Yeah, this article should drive the fandroids and DED haters apoplectic. I'm sure they are all composing rabid 1000 word replies as I type.



    Really? It needs to be spelled out for you? ANDROID ON VERIZON. That's one carrier, guys. If Apple brings iphone to other carriers like Google has with Android, it'll be a blood bath
  • Reply 14 of 108
    Everything seems to be lining up for iPhone on Verizon in 2011. Whether it's January or June is unknown and probably doesn't make a big difference. But if it doesn't come out till 2012 apple and verizon will have missed a big opportunity and while sale will do well, it will not be what they could do this year.
  • Reply 15 of 108
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    Verizon NEVER cared about losing the number 1 crown when Cingular Wireless bought AT&T Wireless.



    Verizon NEVER expanded their prepaid or MVNO offerings so that they could catch Cingular Wireless.



    Verizon just concentrated on postpaid net adds and not cared a single day on losing the number 1 crown.



    This doesn't mean they don't care about the number of subscribers they have or being able to show investors they they dominate the smartphone market....which include those lucrative data plans and what not.
  • Reply 16 of 108
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post


    Read the original Asymco article. It deserves to be appreciated without being obfuscated by a third party, and a conditional element to the source data was also expressed.



    Asymco in general is a great place for Apple analysis.



    That's true. I linked to it on another thread. But if anything, the original article is stating things even more strongly that is being done here. Is Daniel getting soft?
  • Reply 16 of 108
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Finally...a decent article by Daniel without oodles of spin. I knew he could do it!



    In any event, while Verizon is big, I still don't think it matters as much as on the global stage (to either side) as some Americans think it does.
  • Reply 18 of 108
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    Verizon NEVER cared about losing the number 1 crown when Cingular Wireless bought AT&T Wireless.



    Verizon NEVER expanded their prepaid or MVNO offerings so that they could catch Cingular Wireless.



    Verizon just concentrated on postpaid net adds and not cared a single day on losing the number 1 crown.



    Oh, that's nuts! They didn't buy Allitel because they wanted the extra 11 million subscribers? Then why? You don't think that size was a consideration?
  • Reply 19 of 108
    istudistud Posts: 193member
    20 posts already, and the Android trolls have not arrived yet! Are all in their caves?
  • Reply 20 of 108
    In all fairness, all this chart shows is the spike in sales after the iphone 4 release. Sales always spike in the quarter after the year's new model is released.
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