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Apple's UK smartphone lead shrinks

Samsung marketing cash, iPhone 5 rumours take their toll

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While Apple's iPhone 4S is still the UK's most popular smartphone, accounting for one in five of all those sold last month - sales are slipping.

Back in March, the 4S accounted for 25 per cent of UK smartphone sales, the Financial Times reports, citing from market watcher GfK.

Deflecting the 4S' sales trajectory downward is the Samsung Galaxy S III, its manufacturer having finally realised what Apple has understood for years: splash the cash on marketing and people are more likely to buy your product.

We've noticed that, in addition, to customer-facing promo work, Samsung has also enticed network operators to push the Galaxy S III on its behalf. Rather a lot of announcements from the UK's cellcos of late that talk about smartphones reference the S III as the only example.

We suspect, but have no evidence to back this up, that they're not doing so for free.

GfK doesn't give such market data out for free, either, and we suspect the information has been provided to the FT - not unreasonably - by someone with an interest in showing how iPhone 4S sales are falling while S III sales are on the up.

Who could that be?!?

The numbers quoted by the FT show the S III took 18 per cent of the UK smartphone market in the first week of June, just behind the 4S' 19 per cent.

Samsung's promotional activity aside, you might well expect Apple's 4S sales to have peaked by now. It's eight months on from the launch and there's so much speculation about Apple's next model - almost certainly the iPhone 5, given 2012 marks the platform's fifth anniversary - that many punters will be holding back.

Plenty of them will be coming to the end of two-year contracts taken out on the back of June 2010's iPhone 4 debut, so won't be in the market for an upgrade until later this month in any case. Those on 18-month iPhone 4 contracts probably went over to the 4S last autumn. ®

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