Tesco has revealed that the sale of Android phones on its network have surpassed Apple's iPhone for the first time.

Tesco, a virtual mobile operator running on O2's network, says its customers indicate that Google's operating system is poised to grow even larger in 2011.

In the pre-Christmas period the iPhone was outselling Android smartphones by a factor of two to one, but January saw what Tesco is describing as a 'rapid increase' in Android sales to gain parity.

And February has seen Android overtake iPhone sales, although it should be pointed out that the new iPhone 5 UK release date is likely to be in July, and could shake things up once more.

Barometer

"As one of the UK's leading operators, these sales are a useful barometer for smartphone trends," said Graham Harris, chief executive officerof Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile.

"There is a lot of choice in the market and as a result consumers are driving healthy competition between rival operating systems."

"Tesco Mobile prides itself on customer service and offering customers what they want, through a wide range of competitive deals on all platforms. In addition to competitive Android smartphone deals, we also offer iPhone on a variety of fantastic 12 month [contracts]"

"However, we commend this healthy competition between operating systems as we see this as helping to drive consumer choice and flexibility."