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Thursday April 21, 2011 12:39 pm

Verizon sold 2.2 million iPhone 4 units in the first 2 weeks

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Smartphones, Corporate News

Verizon iPhone 4

Verizon said Thursday that it sold 2.2 million iPhones in its first two weeks and sold out of the iPad 2 in early March.

Verizon also sold 260,000 HTC Thunderbolt devices, the first smartphone for its 4G LTE network, and another 250,000 4G LTE Internet devices, Fran Shammo, president and CEO of Verizon Telecom and Business, said during a Thursday earnings call.

About 22 percent of iPhone activations were for people new to Verizon Wireless, while 78 percent were existing Verizon customers who upgraded.

Overall, 60 percent of phones sold during the quarter were smartphones, up from 36 percent last year. About 65 percent of those were new to the smartphone category, meaning they upgraded from a feature or multimedia phone or were new to Verizon. Overall, 32 percent of Verizon Wireless's retail post-paid customers are now using smartphones, up from 28 percent last quarter.

Verizon first started selling the iPhone in early February, and said the device contributed to the company's "most successful first day sales in the history of the company." At the time, it did not reveal exact sales data, except to say that in "just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history."

Verizon initially offered the iPhone to existing customers during a 3am pre-sale. Shammo said Thursday that the company took that route to "show our loyalty to customers who stayed with us even though we didn't have the iPhone."

Going forward, Shammo said he expects some "fluctuations" in smartphone sales whenever Apple introduces its next iPhone, which he said will be a global device.

He also reiterated that Verizon will introduce tiered smartphone pricing in mid-summer for 3G and 4G devices. "That is a definite, and you will hear more of that as we get there," he said.

In late March, Verizon started taking orders for the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, which connects up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to Verizon's nascent 4G broadband network. Its second hotspot was announced earlier this week.

"We think these 4G mobile hotspots will be very popular with customers as they essentially allow any Wi-Fi enabled device to function as 4G LTE devices," Shammo said.

During the quarter, Verizon added 1.8 million customers to its wireless business, 906,000 of which were for post-paid retail customers. Verizon Wireless now has 104 million total connections, including 88.4 million retail customers.

Overall, Verizon reported revenue of $27 billion, up 0.3 percent from the same time period last year. The wireless business had $16.9 billion in revenue, up 10.2 percent from last year.

When asked about the pending merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, Shammo said Verizon will "let that go through due process with the federal government [and] sit and wait and see."

If it's a market-based merger, Verizon will not have many objections, but if its a "regulatory merger," then Verizon will "have a harder time." Verizon "will not stand by" if the Federal Communications Commission or other agencies impose regulations that force Verizon to deliver services at a set price, for example, Shammo said.

During its earnings call this week, AT&T executives said they were pleasantly surprised that more of its customers did not move to Verizon after it got the iPhone, and insisted that people stayed put due to the services AT&T offers rather than existing contracts.

Apple also had its earnings call Wednesday, during which it said that it sold 18.65 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 113 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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