A new report shows Sprint customers are less likely to stay with the carrier when looking for an iPhone than customers who subscribe to AT&T or Verizon Wireless. However, Sprint does better a lot better in attracting new iPhone customers from prepaid or regional carriers.

Apple Event 10/4 Tim Cook iPhones

Once an AT&T or Verizon customer, always an AT&T or Verizon customer? That seem to be true of people shopping for a new iPhone.

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners drilled down into their own most recent research data about the major U.S. carriers to find out how each wins or loses buyers looking for Apple’s smartphone. Their client report was published on Friday.

Here are some of the basics gleaned from these two matrices:


  • AT&T and Verizon keep their customers looking to buy an iPhone: on both carriers 94 percent of iPhone owners purchased through their current carrier.
  • Sprint customers looking for iPhones are slightly less loyal to the last of the big three carriers to get the iPhone — it has an 88 percent retention rate.
  • When T-Mobile customers want an iPhone, they head over to the original iPhone carrier. Sixty-five percent of their customers go to AT&T.
  • Sprint gets more new iPhone customers than the rest (16 percent) from “other” carriers, meaning regional or pre-paid carriers.
To be sure, the iPhone is the best-selling smartphone for each of the carriers, at least as of the end of the first quarter of this year. But Verizon and AT&T have obviously established themselves as the place to go for an iPhone — Sprint, as the newest of the three, hasn’t had the same amount of time to establish itself in that same manner.

But Apple, unintentionally or not, may not be giving it the same chance as the others. It’ll be interesting to see how Sprint does now that Apple is on a mission to spread the iPhone far and wide in the U.S. After making a deal to offer the iPhone 4S on C Spire last fall, in the last month Apple has announced that the iPhone will be or is available on Cricket and Virgin Mobile. Seems like good incentive to stay put, rather than move to Sprint or any other post-paid plan if it’s not necessary.


  1. Verizon Share Wallet Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    this will definitely no longer be the case when Verizon’s Share Your Wallet plan goes into effect. consumers are brighter than they think, especially in this economy. also, with all the new prepaid carriers offering the iPhone, the obvious choice is to stop allowing the big two gouging wallets and lining ceo pockets.


  2. AT&T wireless is horrible – dropped calls and weak signals were commonplace in the major city where I live. No problem with my new iPhone thought Verizon

  3. Michael W. Perry Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    The chart is deficient. It fails to track those who, once their pricey AT&T iPhone contract had expired, shifted that iPhone to a less costly plan with T-Mobile. For voice, it works fine and soon T-Mobile will offer fast data to iPhone users.

  4. Virgin Mobile IS Sprint, just a different way of paying. So it was really Sprin’t decision, I doubt Apple can enforce how a phone is sold. In fact, the only reason an iPhone is $200 on postpaid is because the carriers perceive a price barrier that they dare not cross. They rather pay “extortion” to Apple (and have a much lower margin), as they are fond of saying.

  5. Way to soon for this analysis! This is entirely misleading and clearly written by an AT&T marketeer. We will see these numbers shift dramatically in Sprint’s favor in the next 2 months. As the only decent provider with unlimited data Sprint is the ONLY choice for the media hungry generation. I am personally switching 5 phones but am waiting until the Speint store has iPhone 5 in stock since we have to port the numbers over.


Comments have been disabled for this post