Sun, Feb 06, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Verizon sees ‘record’ first-day iPhone sales

HOTCAKES:Verizon Wireless said that it would slow down traffic for heavy data users on unlimited plans and conserve data capacity by recoding all online video

AP, NEW YORK

Verizon Wireless on Friday said its first day of taking online orders for the iPhone produced record sales, and it’s stopped taking orders until Wednesday.

The cellphone carrier said that in just two hours on Thursday morning, between 3am and 5am, more customers had ordered the phone than in the full day of any previous phone launch.

The company didn’t specify how many iPhones had been ordered. It halted orders at 8:10pm on Thursday and said it would resume taking orders at 3am on Wednesday.

It is only taking orders from current Verizon subscribers. The phone will be available in stores for the general public on Thursday, but supplies are likely to be tight.

AT&T Inc has so far been the exclusive carrier of Apple Inc’s popular phone in the US. It activated 15.2 million of them last year. Analyst estimates for Verizon iPhone sales this year vary widely, from 5 million to 13 million. Analysts expect the sales to Verizon subscribers will be strong, but the big question is how many iPhone buyers will be jumping ship from other carriers.

Verizon is offering trade-in rebates for new customers, which can help offset the cost of breaking a contract with AT&T. For instance, it’s offering US$212 for a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4 in good condition.

AT&T’s fee for breaking an iPhone 4 contract early is US$325, but that’s pro-rated by US$10 per month.

On Thursday, Verizon revealed that it will slow down traffic for heavy data users on unlimited plans if they’re hogging the local cell tower. This only applies to subscribers signing up for a new data plan, or renewing a contract. Since the unlimited data plan is required for the iPhone, Verizon is reserving the right to throttle all iPhone traffic.

It also said it would conserve data capacity by recoding all online video requested by data subscribers. It said the effect on image quality should be minimal.

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