Verizon Wireless has stopped taking orders for its soon-to-launch Apple iPhone 4, reporting that it has already sold through its initial inventory.
Verizon first introduced its CDMA version of the iPhone 4 Jan. 11, and began accepting preorders from existing customers on Feb.3 at 3 a.m. EST.
"This was an exciting day," said Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer for Verizon Wireless, said in a Feb. 4 statement. "In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history."
The company stopped accepting orders at 8:10 p.m. on Feb 3.
"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," Mead continued. "It is gratifying to know that our customers responded so enthusiastically to this exclusive offer - designed to reward them for their loyalty."
According to the company's Website, it will again accept orders beginning Feb. 9.
Apple, on its site, says that it has "set aside a limited quantity of iPhone 4 models for existing Verizon customers to preorder from the Apple Online Store for free delivery on or before February 10." On Feb. 9, consumers can order an iPhone 4 from the Apple Online Store and have it shipped to their doors free of charge, or reserve an iPhone 4 for a Feb. 10 pickup at an Apple retail store. It will also have devices in its stores Feb. 10, staring at 7 a.m., available on a "first-come, first-served basis."
Orders, it adds, are subject to availability.
Analyst Roger Kay, with EndPoint Technologies, said that brisk sales had been predicted for the Verizon device - and neither was Verizon's "stocking out" a surprise. "As usual," Kay told eWEEK, "Apple will let the carrier be the fall guy and keep all the halo for itself."
During a Jan. 25 conference call with media and analysts to discuss Apple's fiscal 2011 first quarter, Apple executives announced that the company sold a record number of iPhones during the quarter, and could have sold even more had it had the inventory. COO Tim Cook was asked, then, what the company was doing to ensure it would be able to meet demand for the Verizon iPhone 4.
"We're thrilled to offer the iPhone to Verizon's 93 million customers, or anyone who wants the iPhone on Verizon," Cook said during the call. "We're going to do whatever we need to, to get iPhones into the hands of those customers."
He added later, regarding the iPhone 4, "I feel very, very good about what we've been able to do. However, it's not enough. We do still have a significant backlog, and we are working around the clock to build more."
Verizon executives, during the carrier's Jan. 25 fourth-quarter earnings announcement, declined to say how many iPhone 4 handsets they expect to sell "There are too many variables that go into it," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told analysts during a live Webcast.
Shammo added that the carrier has been building up its network in anticipation of the iPhone for a year, and that it's "not going to have any flaws on the execution of the iPhone launch."
More than 3,000 customer-service representatives have been hired and trained to offer support on the iOS user interface, Shammo continued, saying that even the carrier's launch of the Apple iPad was a way of making sure representatives in its stores and call centers were comfortable with the Apple interface.
Its bottom line going forward, Shammo added, will be dictated by three factors: "the mix of sales vs. upgrades," how many iPhones Verizon sells and its device supply.
Reviewing the Verizon iPhone 4 before its official launch, several noted tech journalists offered balanced reports. The New York Times' David Pogue, highlighting an upside, wrote that it's "nearly the same as AT&T's iPhone 4 - but it doesn't drop calls." While the Wall Street Journal's Walter S. Mossberg, finding that AT&T's network actually offered faster data speeds, concluded that if overseas travel and fast data downloads are priorities for you, "You may want to stick with AT&T."