LTE iPhone Would ‘Extend Dominance’ at AT&T, Sprint and Verizon

This isn’t going to surprise most U.S. smartphone owners.

The iPhone 4S remained the best-selling smartphone last month among the nation’s three largest mobile-phone operators, according to research from Canaccord Genuity, the global financial firm.

Meanwhile, Samsung gained smartphone momentum in the prepaid market, Canaccord Genuity analysts T. Michael Walkley and Matthew D. Ramsay said in a research note.

Besides Apple’s iPhone 4S, other top-selling gadgets at the nation’s largest wireless operators included the Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Droid RAZR (MAXX), Samsung Droid Nexus, Samsung Galaxy Note, HTC Amaze and Samsung Galaxy S Blaze, the analysts pointed out. 

The iPhone 4S was the top-selling smartphone last month at AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless, according to Canaccord Genuity. But Verizon’s sales of Apple’s device were not as strong compared to smartphone share at AT&T and Sprint, Canaccord Genuity said.

“We believe this was due in part to the LTE promotions at Verizon and the fact many Verizon customers recently bought the iPhone 4 that launched only one year ago and are locked into a two-year contract and thus not eligible for a subsidized iPhone 4S,” the analysts wrote. “Further, Verizon store managers are clearly incentivized to sell LTE smartphones.”

Based on their research into March sales, Walkley and Ramsay believe cumulative Android sales may have represented more than half of total smartphone sales at Verizon Wireless for the first time since the iPhone 4S was introduced last October.

Apple, though, could continue to exert its influence in the smartphone market if it introduces a phone that supports the wireless standard that the largest U.S. mobile-phone companies are rapidly adopting in their networks: 4G LTE.

“If the iPhone 5 incorporates LTE as we believe it will, then we believe Apple will extend its dominant share of the U.S. smartphone market during the seasonally strong December quarter,” the analysts said.

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