Verizon Wireless CEO Claims Strong iPhone Sales - InformationWeek

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2/25/2011
04:22 PM
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Verizon Wireless CEO Claims Strong iPhone Sales

Most of the carrier's Apple iPhone 4s were sold via online pre-orders, which is why there were no long lines at stores, Dan Mead said.

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When Apple and Verizon Wireless offered the iPhone 4 starting on Feb. 10, there was one thing missing: customers. Images of Apple and Verizon Wireless stores from across the country showed few lines, and the lines that did exist weren't the terrible long lines faced by iPhone buyers last summer.

This led to speculation that perhaps not all that many Verizon Wireless customers were interested in the iPhone after all.

Several reports in recent weeks have suggested that sales of the iPhone 4 have been poor. Blog BGR.com called a number of NYC-area Verizon Wireless and Apple retail stores, and got less-than-exciting sales figures from those who answered the phone. The sales totals from five Verizon Wireless and five Apple store locations totaled about 10,000 units for the first five days the iPhone 4 was on sale.

Not true, according to Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon Wireless. Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mead said that sales are going quite well. He didn't provide an exact number, and said that Verizon won't until its next quarterly earnings report.

Mead noted that 60% of all the iPhones it sold on launch day were purchased online ahead of the Feb. 10 retail launch. Because so many people ordered the iPhone at home, fewer people needed to trek out to stores. Existing Verizon Wireless customers had a seven-day head start on the general public.

"It was a conscious decision to spread the launch over three phases," said Mead. "If we had not done online, you would have seen a much different flow in the pictures."

Verizon had to halt the pre-orders after less than a day due to the high demand it saw for the iPhone 4 ahead of launch.

BGR reported on Feb. 16, "We have been told that online pre-orders between Verizon and Apple amounted to around 550,000 units."

If we put Mead's numbers (60% were preorders) with what BGR reported (550,000 preorders), it would appear that Verizon has sold close to 1 million iPhones.

Apple typically crows about its sales achievements in big, splashy press releases. Apple has yet to do that with the Verizon Wireless iPhone. Could that be because fewer than 1 million of the devices has been sold so far? Perhaps. It could also be that because of an agreement in place with Verizon Wireless, Apple isn't allowed to share the numbers.

In its most recent quarterly report, Apple indicated it had sold 16.24 million iPhones worldwide, with approximately 5 million of them activated by AT&T.

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