Verizon Ceases iPhone Pre-Sales - InformationWeek

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2/4/2011
09:02 AM
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Verizon Ceases iPhone Pre-Sales

Claiming a "first-day" sales record for the Apple iPhone 4 in the first two hours it was available for pre-order, Verizon Wireless has stopped taking pre-orders due to high demand.

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Verizon and Apple began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4 at 3 a.m. Eastern time Thursday. Less than 18 hours later, they had to stop taking new orders due to the onslaught of interest in Apple's smartphone.

"This was an exciting day," said 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."

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.

"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 didn't share 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 4's 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.

Past launch weekends for the iPhone have seen sales well in excess of 1 million units.

On a related note, Verizon Wireless has kicked its iPhone marketing into high gear. It has brought back everyone's favorite network engineer to take a stab at AT&T's network. (Early reviews of the iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless reported that its network performance -- especially voice calls -- was superior to the experience offered by AT&T's network.)

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