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​Spark steals a march on smartphone market as Vodafone fight heats up

​Spark steals a march on smartphone market as Vodafone fight heats up

Telco enters top five shipping smartphone vendors market in New Zealand with Vodafone next in line.

Spark has pushed Alcatel out of the top five shipping smartphone vendors, with the telecommunications giant achieving three per cent share of device shipped during the third quarter of 2016.

Research findings from IDC report that from July to September, Samsung (36 per cent) continues to have the highest shipments, followed by Apple (24 per cent), Huawei (17 per cent), and Vodafone (11 per cent).

Spark's growth comes at a time when the New Zealand smartphone market declined nine percent year on year.

Vendors shipped a total of 410,000 smartphones during July to September 2016, down from 449,000 smartphones shipped over the same period in 2015.

If Skinny Mobile - a division of Spark New Zealand - smartphones and the ZTE/Spark co-branded Pro model are included, then Spark shipments increase to seven per cent share of the total Kiwi smartphone market.

“Spark has not been one of the top five smartphone brands in New Zealand since re-branding from Telecom, which occurred in the second half of 2014,” IDC New Zealand client device analyst, Chayse Gorton, said.

“The most recent quarter when the telco was in the top five was 2014Q1, here Telecom achieved eight per cent share with its three Telecom branded devices.”

Gorton said Spark has reduced its phone range from three devices in the first quarter of 2014 to one by the same period in 2016, contributing to the lower share achieved over recent timeframes.

In addition, the telco launched its new range of phones, made by ZTE, in the second quarter of 2016, with the line-up consisting of the Spark Lite and Plus model, and still includes the R84.

“Including Skinny Mobile and cobranded devices increases the total Spark smartphone range to six devices,” Gorton added.

“The low-end smartphone market appears to be consolidating towards popular Android vendors and telco home brands.

"Here Samsung, Huawei, Vodafone, and Spark (including Skinny and cobranded devices) account for 94 per cent share, up from 70 per cent in 2015Q3.

“Spark and Vodafone have been fiercely competitive in fixed and mobile services to date, and now appear to be increasing their focus on own branded smartphone devices.”

Although Samsung is expected to maintain the top rank, as they overcome publicity issues relating to the recent Note 7 recall, Gorton believes low price smartphones are taking a considerable share of the market, hence it will be “worth watching” how much share Spark and Vodafone capture in the competitive holiday season.


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