T-Mobile has finally made its way to the top.
According to new data from Counterpoint Technology Market Research, the Un-carrier finally clawed its way to the smartphone channel summit, surpassing Verizon as the number one smartphone sales channel in the first quarter 2016.
T-Mobile’s brand, including its MetroPCS prepaid platform, garnered 22.9 percent of the smartphone channel market share. The portion allowed it to finally squeak past Verizon, which pulled 22.2 percent of the channel market share. AT&T was slightly behind with 20.2 percent and Sprint trailed in fourth with 16.7 percent. Open channel sales accounted for nearly 10 percent of the market share for the quarter.
T-Mobile had occupied the number two position since it overtook AT&T in the first quarter of last year. The Un-carrier originally started its climb back in early 2014, when it surpassed Sprint’s channel market share to trail AT&T.
“The U.S. market has undergone significant shifts in the power of the different sales channels with the move to unsubsidized plans,” Counterpoint’s research director Neil Shah said. “The growth of T-Mobile through its different ‘Un-carrier’ moves, the removal of subsidies and enticing subscribers with ‘Simple Choice’ and ‘Jump’ plans, has helped the operator to become the top smartphone sales channel in the USA.”
During the first quarter, which saw the launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 and Apple’s budget iPhone SE, Samsung and Apple sales accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total smartphone shipments share at T-Mobile. Samsung led Apple in those figures, Shah said.
Among all vendors, Apple led with 33 percent of the market share, followed by Samsung with 28 percent, LG with 15 percent.
Despite its success, Shah said T-Mobile’s uphill battle will continue if it wants to stay ahead of Verizon. In particular, Shah said T-Mobile will have to continue to attract new subscribers to its network and fend off the bump in demand for open channel sales that has come with the move to unsubsidized and unlocked devices.