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Monday, November 28, 2011, 04:29 pm PT (07:29 pm ET)

Pent-up demand helps iPhone take top spot in UK market with 43% share

Existing iPhone users' demand for a new device helped push Apple's U.K. market share to nearly 43% in October, beating Android-based handset sales in the region for the first time since late 2010.

According to research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the introduction of the iPhone 4S gave Apple the top spot in a British mobile market that has been dominated by Android smartphones for nearly a year, reports All Things D.

"Apple took a whopping 42.8 percent share of all smartphone sales, giving it a significant lead over Android — a feat many thought was impossible," said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at the firm.

Sunnebo cites pent-up demand for a new Apple handset from the existing U.K. iPhone user base as a driver for the bump in sales, noting the uncharacteristically long period between the launches of the iPhone 4 and 4S. Since the smartphone's debut in 2007, Apple has traditionally released a new model of the iPhone each year, though the latest launch was delayed.

About 75 percent of British customers who purchased an iPhone 4S in October already own a previous version of the device, with 14 percent upgrading from last year's iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4S has seen booming sales since its Oct. 14 launch, most recently being sold out at many Apple Store locations on Black Friday. Russia and Taiwan are scheduled to launch the handset in December as Apple's rollout continues.

Apple's U.K. market share increased 2.8 percent to 27.8 percent year-to-year, while Android finished the quarter ending in October at 46 percent, down from 49.9 percent a year ago. RIM's BlackBerry sales dropped 1.3 points to claim a 19.6 percent share of the market.