1 More Sign That Apple Inc. (AAPL) Needs International iPhone Sales

There are also smaller carriers like Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP)‘s Cricket, and some other regional companies, but I assume that those sales are negligible rounding errors relative to the big carriers. In the two quarters since Leap got the iPhone, it has decided not to report actual unit data, so I don’t think we’re missing a lot there.

The good news is that, over the longterm, these factors tend to balance out and over the 16 quarters of domestic data that Apple directly provided, the average difference between activations and domestic unit sales was just 1%. That means that activations are generally a fairly good proxy for domestic sales in the long term, even if they’re somewhat bumpy each quarter.

The bigger picture
That being said, if we look at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint figures combined, we get a decent approximation for domestic iPhone sales, which, in turn, imply international unit sales. This metric has declined over the past several quarters after reaching as high as 74% in Q1 2012.

Sources: SEC filings and conference calls. Calendar quarters shown. Estimates based on carrier activation figures.

With most of the advances that rivals like Samsung are making in the smartphone market coming from abroad, these latest figures are just another sign that Apple needs to focus more on international iPhone growth.

The article 1 More Sign That Apple Needs International iPhone Sales originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Evan Niu, CFA.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ). The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.

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