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10/6/2008
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One Third Of iPhone 3G Buyers Switched Carriers Too

Apple now holds 17% of the consumer smartphone market as nearly half of its new customers jumped to AT&T from Verizon Wireless, according to data from NPD Group.

With the U.S. cell phone adoption rate at more than 82%, wireless carriers need to poach customers from each other in grow their subscriber base.

With that in mind, new data from NPD Group on Monday said 30% of U.S. customers who purchased an iPhone 3G between June and August switched carriers to join AT&T.

The report, titled "iPhone 3G Report," said the iPhone 3G rate was above the industry average of 23% of consumers switching carriers for the same time period. Nearly half of the customers switching carriers came from Verizon Wireless, 24% came from T-Mobile, and 19% switched from Sprint.

"The launch of the lower-priced iPhone 3G was a boon to overall consumer smartphone sales," said Ross Rubin, NPD Group's director of industry analysis in a statement. "While the original iPhone also helped win customers for AT&T, the faster network speeds of the iPhone 3G has proven more appealing to customers that already had access to a 3G network."

Prior to the June launch of the iPhone 3G, NPD said Apple held 11% of the consumer smartphone market. That figure jumped to 17% after the launch of the updated handset. NPD did not include sales figures for the corporate or enterprise markets though, thus Apple's share of the overall smartphone market could be significantly lower.

The report also said that the iPhone 3G was the best-selling smartphone for the consumer market for the three-month period, easily outpacing Research In Motion's BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Pearl, and Palm's Centro. Additionally, NPD said the average price for a smartphone during this period was $174, a drop from $236 for the same period last year.

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