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AT&T had an eight-month head start with the iPhone 4, but Verizon has still ended up with a healthy 32 percent of the U.S. iPhone 4 market, according to a study by the mobile analytics company Localytics.

The study, if accurate, proves that there was indeed considerable pent-up demand for an iPhone on Verizon’s network. The carrier only sells the iPhone 4 on its network, and it announced in April that it had sold 2.2 million iPhones in its first quarter.

AT&T, which sold 3.6 million iPhones in its first quarter, also offers cheaper models like the bargain-priced $50 iPhone 3GS. AT&T hasn’t offered up any recent details on the amount of iPhone 4s on its network.

Verizon’s iPhone 4 market share jumped from 20 percent during the device’s launch week in February to 26 percent in May, according to Localytics’ study (see chart below). As of July, the carrier housed a third of all iPhone 4s in the country.

Judging from the study, there seems to have been a big jump in Verizon iPhone 4 sales between May and June. Localytics believes many consumers jumped to Verizon to take advantage of its unlimited data plan, which the company is scheduled to stop supporting today for new customers. AT&T dumped its unlimited data plan last year, although it’s still offering unlimited service to previous iPhone users.

Here’s how Localytics explains its research methodology: “Each month’s market share number is based on the seven-day period leading up to the 1st of the month – therefore, numbers should be taken as market share on the first day of the stated month. Data is based on app usage as seen by Localytics.”

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive mobile trends at our fourth annual MobileBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the rise of 4G and how it delivers the promise of true mobile computing. We’re also accepting entries for our mobile startup competition at the show. MobileBeat is co-located with our GamesBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors include Verizon Wireless, Qualcomm, Flurry, Greystripe, Box, Moolah Media, Tapjoy, AT&T Interactive, YuMe, Zong, Kontagent, Papaya Mobile, Acaltel-Lucent, Spil Games, BluePoint Security, PayPal, Xyologic, VSC, and Vantage Communications.


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