03:40 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren

Verizon Has Already Sold 500,000 iPhones

Estimates place the number of iPhone 4s sold by Verizon Wireless during its short-lived pre-sale at more than half a million.

Estimates place the number of iPhone 4s sold by Verizon Wireless during its short-lived pre-sale at more than half a million.JPMorgan analyst Phil Cusick said in a note to clients today that it's likely 500,000 people purchased an iPhone 4 from Verizon Wireless during the 17-hour-long pre-sale that took place on February 3.

In order to reach this estimate, Cusick looked back at some clues given by Verizon Wireless in the past.

Verizon Wireless announced on Friday that it had to cease sales because the initial stock was accounted for by all the pre-orders. Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer for Verizon Wireless. "In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history. And, when you consider these initial orders were placed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., it is an incredible success story. It is gratifying to know that our customers responded so enthusiastically to this exclusive offer -- designed to reward them for their loyalty."

Verizon's previous record was set by the Motorola Droid, which went on sale back in November 2009. Using the Droid's 2009 numbers as a yardstick, Cusick pegs the iPhone pre-sales at near 500,000. He also believes that the iPhone will handily beat all the sales records for opening weekend, week, and quarter made by the Droid.

The last two iPhones have sold more than one million units opening weekend. Can the Verizon iPhone 4, which has already been sold to millions of Americans, make the same waves? Based on how quickly the initial supply was snapped up, it is certainly possible.

The pre-orders were only available to existing Verizon Wireless customers. Apple will begin accepting pre-orders on February 9 for walk-in sales that start at 7 a.m. on February 10. Verizon Wireless said that it will open 2,000 of its retail stores at 7 a.m. on the 10th to sell the device. It will also be available at Apple stores, Best Buy, and select Wal-Mart locations.

The device costs $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. Verizon Wireless is requiring a minimum voice plan of 450 minutes, which costs $39.99 per month. It is also requiring a mobile Web and Data plan, which costs $30 per month. Messaging features cost extra.

Some of those who pre-ordered the device reported that they received shipping notices already. Verizon Wireless and Apple both said that pre-ordered iPhones will arrive on or before the February 10 launch date. Units started arrive across the country on Monday, February 7.

"I am proud of our employees who worked tirelessly to strengthen and scale our systems, enabling unprecedented customer orders through our Web site. Overall, it was a very good day," Mead added. "Yesterday's launch set the pace for next week when we open up sales to everyone across America."

Verizon Wireless haven't shared any actual numbers for the pre-sales. It's likely that Apple and Verizon will issue a press release no later than Monday, February 14, to reveal how many Verizon iPhone 4s were sold during the opening weekend. Give the strong demand for pre-orders, it is probable that the iPhone 4 will be a scare commodity on launch day.

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