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Smartphone penetration breaks 50% barrier in the U.S.

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August 20, 2012

Smartphones have for the first time overtaken their feature phone cousins in the US mobile...

Smartphones have for the first time overtaken their feature phone cousins in the US mobile market (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Data collected from telco companies and network operators shows that smartphone penetration has broken the 50 percent barrier in the United States, with these devices now outnumbering their feature phone brethren for the first time. According to a report compiled by market consultancy Chaten Sharma, smartphones overtook feature phones during Q2 of this year - a push largely driven by Android and iOS-enabled devices.

New handset sales were dominated by smartphones in Q2, taking a 70 percent share. According to Chetan Sharma, 42 percent of the US mobile industry's service revenue is from data, which goes to show just how big a deal internet enabled devices have become.

US Smartphone sales by manufacturer (Chetan Sharma)
US Smartphone sales by manufacturer (Chetan Sharma)

While telco revenue from new subscriptions fell below five percent, prepaid subscriptions grew 12 percent year on year to over 100 million subscriptions, which Cheten Sharma says is likely a function of users watching their wallets because of the current economic landscape.

Samsung is the market leader in terms of number of handsets shipped, but Apple came up trumps in terms of revenue. While shipping only 6 percent of mobile devices, Apple hauled in over 70 percent of total mobile device revenue. Not too shabby.

Global market share of smartphones by manufacturer since 2005 (Chetan Sharma)
Global market share of smartphones by manufacturer since 2005 (Chetan Sharma)

Globally, smartphone penetration grew to about 38 percent at the same time, while China hit its one billionth mobile subscription in March.

Source: Chetan Sharma, via Gigaom

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