iPhone 6, 6 Plus pre-orders: AT&T ruled, while T-Mobile accounted for 5x more than Sprint

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre-orders were delivered last week and that means package tracking apps were busy. Now that people have their new iPhones is there anything to be learned from the shipment data?

Yes, according to Slice, which aggregates information from its package tracker app: AT&T accounted for nearly half of all U.S. pre-orders among those who used Slice to follow their handset shipment while iPhones compatible with T-Mobile’s network out-shipped those for Sprint’s by a factor of five.

Apple's iPhone 6. Photo by Tom Krazit/Gigaom
Apple’s iPhone 6. Photo by Tom Krazit/Gigaom

The data from Slice — one of my favorite apps for Android and iOS — literally is a slice of all [company]Apple[/company] iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre-orders: The data can only be captured by those who used the app to track their iPhone shipment. The sample size for Slice’s data is 13,055 U.S. consumers; a small portion of the 4 million pre-orders but still a significant number.

Here’s the breakdown of the data captured by the company’s app for pre-orders placed between September 12 and 14:

Carrier iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus
AT&T 47.4% 53.8%
Sprint 5.2% 4.9%
T-Mobile 19.0% 20.1%
Verizon 28.5 21.2%

[company]AT&T[/company] leading the pack doesn’t surprise me here. The company gained a larger number of subscribers thanks to iPhone exclusivity for several years and it has continued to improved its network to keep them. One in five customers pre-ordering a [company]T-Mobile[/company] phone at full price is a bit surprising, but it speaks to the “un-carrier” marketing and perhaps the Wi-Fi calling function on the new iPhones, which only work on T-Mobile’s handsets. Another factor is the T-Mobile iPhone coming unlocked, meaning it can be used on AT&T’s network as well.

The [company]Sprint[/company] data suggests that the carrier’s new CEO Marcelo Claure has work to do to convince consumers that Sprint’s network is up to snuff. That’s going to take time though as Sprint is still rolling out its Spark service which uses three different LTE bands. The new iPhone supports Sprint Spark but the service coverage is relatively limited compared to Sprint’s peers, giving them a speed advantage in many regions of the country.