Apple the only phone maker to show US subscriber growth since June

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Apple was the only top-5 phone manufacturer to grow its slice of the U.S. mobile subscriber market during the third quarter while its share rose above 10% for the first time, according to a new report.

Market research firm comScore said Friday that average number of U.S. mobile subscribers using iPhones during the three-month period ending September increased 1.3% to give Apple a 10.2% share of the market.

Overall, a surveyed over 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers age 13 and older found that an average of 234 million Americans used mobile devices during the third quarter.

Market leader worldwide No. 2 Samsung was the only other handset maker that didn't lose subscribers during the three month period, holding its 25.3% share with no change. LG and Motorola both showed a 0.7% decrease in subscribers, followed by RIM who shed 0.8% of the market.

The number of smartphone users rose 12% from the previous quarter with mobile platforms fighting for their share of 87.4 million subscribers. Android was the top-ranked OS with 44.8% of subscribers using handsets running Google's software, a 4.6% bump from three months ago. Apple secured its place behind Android, growing 0.8 points to hold 27.4% of the market, and RIM ranked third with a 18.9% share. Microsoft and Symbian rounded out the top five with 5.6% and 1.8% of the smartphone base, respectively.

Apple's subscriber growth comes amid a rise in the number of consumers who are turning their smartphones to perform data-centric tasks. In particular, comScore's survey found that the number of subscribers using mobile web browsers increased 2.8% to 42.9% during the third quarter, while those downloading apps jumped 3% to 42.5%.

Text messaging remained dominant with 71.1% of consumers using the feature, up 1.5% from June.


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