Between December 2008 and December 2009, the percentage of US mobile phone subscribers with unlimited data plans increased from 16% to 21%, with several phones now requiring an unlimited data plan subscription at the time of purchase. During the same period, smartphone ownership increased from 11% to 17%, while 3G phone ownership increased from 32% to 43%.
Smartphone Penetration Rises in 2009
Smartphone penetration continued to climb in 2009 as consumers were presented with a growing number of smartphone handset options. Among the high-profile smartphone introductions in 2009 were the Palm Pre, Motorola Droid, Motorola Cliq and others.
In December 2009, smartphones were owned by 17% of US mobile phone subscribers, up nearly six percentage points from December 2008. Among smartphone operating system (OS) platforms, RIM retained its lead with 41.6% market share, followed by Apple at 25.3% (up 8.5 percentage points from the previous year) and Microsoft at 17.9%. Google’s OS share (5.2%) gained considerably in the final months of 2009 and is poised for continued growth in 2010 with the introduction of new devices featuring the Android platform.
Verizon Tops Among U.S. Mobile Network Providers
The largest four mobile network providers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, combined to account for 80% of the entire US mobile subscriber market in December 2009. Verizon led as the largest service provider in the US with a market share of 31.2% in December, followed by AT&T with 25% share. Sprint and T-Mobile each captured 12.1% of the market.
Motorola Continues to Lead OEM Market in 2009
Motorola led the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) market in December 2009 with 23.5% of devices owned by mobile subscribers. While many of these handsets are legacy devices, Motorola has also made a more recent splash in the market with the introduction of the Droid and the Cliq. LG captured the second largest share of the handset market with 21.9%, up two percentage points from the previous year, followed closely by Samsung with 21.2%, up 2.7 percentage points. Apple captured 4.3% of the OEM market, up from just 1.9% share in December 2008, as the iPhone continued to gain traction last year.
Symbian Leads Global Smartphone OS Vendors
Symbian was the most popular smartphone OS by shipment volume in 2009, according to findings from technology market research firm Canalys. Although Symbian’s share of the global smartphone market dropped from 52.4% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2009, Symbian’s shipment volume grew 4.8%, from 74.9 million units to 78.5 million units.
Other findings on smartphone OS 2009 shipment volume from Canalys include:
- Although the Google Android OS only shipped 7.8 million units in 2009, this represented 1073.5% growth from 663,500 units in 2008. Global market share grew from 0.5% to 4.7%.
- Microsoft, the third-most popular smartphone OS by global shipment volume in 2008, lost 26.4% of its volume in 2009, dropping from 19.9 million units to 14.7 million units. Market share declined from 13.9% to 8.8%, and Microsoft slipped to fourth place in smartphone global shipment volume.
- Apple, the fourth-most popular smartphone OS by global shipment volume in 2008, traded places with Microsoft to become third-most-popular in 2009. Apple OS shipped 25.1 million units globally last year, up 82.9% from 13.7 million units in 2008. Market share grew from 9.6% to 15.1%.
About the Survey: Data is taken from the comScore 2009 Digital US Year in Review.