First week Verizon iPhone sales have been “a little” lower than expected, according to people familiar with the matter, though the slow start won’t likely affect the device’s long-term prospects on the carrier.
The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier’s iPhone sales have slightly outpaced AT&T, these sources said, cited by website Boy Genius Report, looking at a statistically limited sample of five Apple stores, out of a total 230. Meanwhile, online pre-order sales of Verizon’s iPhones totaled 550,000 units. Only 14 percent of people buying the Verizon iPhone switched from AT&T, with another 30 percent coming from Android.
Without revealing further information, a Verizon spokesperson stated that the company is pleased with iPhone sales.
The possible lower-than-expected sales come on the heels of a slow launch day for the device on Verizon, with stores reporting smaller crowds than anticipated. The shorter lines are perhaps a surprise after much intense anticipation surrounded the arrival of the iPhone, announced in January and released on February 10.
But the slower roll out may be because there’s nothing new about the specific iPhone 4, only the carrier. In addition, AT&T customers are hindered by fees associated with breaking two-year contract obligations.
AT&T, meanwhile, has made substantial efforts to keep existing subscribers by upping data packages and adding unlimited voice calling options. Still, other consumers may be turning to Google’s increasingly appealing Android models.
Ultimately, it’s unclear what impact, if any, initial sales will have over the long term. A better gauge of disaffection with AT&T — or preference for Verizon — and the lasting appeal of the iPhone in general could happen over the summer. That’s when Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5 simultaneously on both wireless carriers.
With the next iPhone coming and as more AT&T users’ two-year contracts will expire, the sales pattern may change for Verizon, with analysts forecasting sales of 9 to 13 million of the iPhone for the carrier.