February 11, 2011 in Business

Short lines for Verizon iPhone

 
Associated Press photo

A Verizon Wireless employee helps a customer purchase three iPhones in New York on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – The Verizon iPhone went on sale Thursday, but demand appeared to be tepid, with small or no lines at Verizon and Apple stores.

The launch of new iPhone models at AT&T Inc. every summer has meant long overnight lines.

Verizon Wireless may have satisfied most of the demand by allowing online pre-orders for current subscribers. The poor showing in stores, though, could be an indication that Verizon’s phone may not have much power to draw subscribers from other carriers, though freezing temperatures across much of the country could have played a role.

Verizon Wireless started taking pre-orders a week ago, and said that in just two hours they broke the previous record for first-day phone orders.

AT&T Inc. has so far been the exclusive carrier of Apple Inc.’s popular phone in the U.S. 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.

AT&T subscribers have complained about dropped calls and other problems with network performance, but their displeasure seems to have subsided a bit in the last year, as AT&T ramped up spending on network upgrades.

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