The analytics and marketing firm Localytics this week said the iPhone 5S outsold the iPhone 5C more than three-to-one during the devices’ opening weekend. While some analysts are dubious of the prospects of Apple’s new, more affordable iPhone, Localytics rightly points out that it’s unsurprising that the iPhone 5C dominated first-weekend sales because “those who feel the need to buy a device the very weekend it launches are most likely the power users who want the highest-end phone experience.”
But I was surprised to the disparity in sales between the nation’s two biggest carriers and the two smaller tier-ones. AT&T claimed a whopping 49 percent of new iPhone activations during the opening weekend, according to Localytics, and Verizon accounted for 37 percent. Only nine percent of new iPhone activations were attributed to Sprint customers, and T-Mobile claimed a measly 5 percent. The two smaller carriers — both of which differentiate themselves with cheaper plans than the big two — will almost certainly see those numbers improve in the coming weeks as the sales gap between the two iPhones narrows. But opening-weekend sales of the latest iPhones are a small piece of evidence that the two smaller carriers aren’t as well positioned to grow their shares of the mobile market as some believe.