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четвер, 21 квітня 2011 р.

Verizon Sells 2.2M iPhones in First Two Weeks

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.
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China Is Apple's Fastest Growing Market for IPhone

In a conference call on Wednesday, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, said that for the first three months of 2011, iPhone sales in "Greater China" grew by almost 250 percent from the same period last year. This brought Apple's revenues in the first fiscal half to just under US$5 billion for the Greater China market, an increase of almost four times from 2010.

The $5 billion generated represents about 10 percent of Apple's revenues, Cook added in the conference call. "So we're extremely happy with how we're doing in China," he said. In the U.S., iPhone sales grew by 155 percent.

It's unclear, however, where in China the device is selling the most. Cook's reference to Greater China includes the mainland, Hong Kong and the island of Taiwan, said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.

But analysts have said that in mainland China, Apple is seeing a major shift with how consumers are viewing the iconic smartphone. When Apple's iPhone 4 launched there in late September, it was a hit with Chinese consumers, quickly selling out and leading to shortages.

Earlier versions of the iPhone had not met with the same reception, said Mark Natkin, the managing director for Beijing-based research firm Marbridge Consulting.

Apple didn't officially begin selling the iPhone in mainland China until late 2009, more than two years after it was launched in the U.S. Even then, the iPhone sold in the country was designed without Wi-Fi capability, in order to comply with Chinese technology regulations at the time.

"Eventually Apple was allowed to offer the iPhone with Wi-Fi functionality," Natkin said. "But by the time they were allowed to do so, the global launch of the iPhone 4 was just some months away. So again many users just waited for the right time."

The iPhone 4's appealing features and user interface have made it an attractive smartphone for buyers in China, Natkin said. Furthermore, the device is a status symbol in China, he added.

"If you look at the Apple experience store in Beijing, it's packed everyday," he said. "People have a very high regard for the Apple brand and for its ability to innovate."

But even as Apple's COO noted the strong sales of the iPhone in China, the device is far from becoming the dominant presence in the country's smartphone market.

At the end of 2010, Apple had 8.3 percent of China's smartphone market, an increase from the 5.4 percent it held at the beginning of the year, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Nokia, Samsung and Motorola continue to lead in the market.

"It's true the iPhone has sold well, but in China, Apple's share of the market is still small," said Wang Yan, a senior analyst with research firm Ovum. In the U.S., Apple leads the smartphone market with a 28.6 percent share, according to data collected by The Nielsen Company.

Apple's iPhones could have been selling better in China, but the company only slowly began realizing its marketing strategy, Wang said. Analysts have pointed to the supply shortages of Apple's iPhone 4 in China, which lasted for months, along with the company's smaller distribution network for the device in the country.

"I don't think Apple has made China an important market. But I think in the future they will do a better job of paying attention to it," Wang said.

China has more than 850 mobile phone users. Smartphone sales in the country reached an estimated 62 million units in 2010, and are expected to jump to 95 million for this year, according to Analysys International.

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Apple iPhone Explodes, iPads Sizzle in Q2

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) posted another record-breaking quarter Wednesday as iPhone sales soared to 18.65 million, representing 113 percent growth over the previous year. The company sold 4.69 million iPads during the quarter ended March, well below analyst estimates. (See Apple Reports Q2.)

In the second quarter, Apple launched the iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless and introduced the iPad 2. The iPhone is now on 186 carriers in 90 countries. (See Verizon Finally Gets the iPhone 4 and AT&T & Verizon Fight for iPad 2 Dominance.)

Apple posted a second-quarter profit of US$5.99 billion on revenues of $24.67 billion. Half of its revenues came from the iPhone.

Apple's slower-than-expected iPad sales weren't a result of the earthquake in Japan as some assumed. COO Tim Cook said on its earnings call that although it sources literally hundreds of products from Japan, there was no supply or cost impact.

Instead, the issue on iPad sales was that Apple is still heavily backlogged as demand outstrips supply as it expands the device to more countries and carriers.

"We sold every iPad 2 that we could make," he said on the call. He added that Apple will produce a very large number of the tablets for the next quarter, but he's still uncertain if it will meet consumer demand.

Tablets were not a huge seller for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which announced its first-quarter earnings earlier on Wednesday, either. The carrier sold 322,000 tablets, down from the 442,000 it sold in the fourth quarter, but that's also the quarter in which it began selling the 3G iPad. (See AT&T Looks From iPhone to LTE to Increase Subs and AT&T's iPhone Growth Continues.)

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Verizon CFO says next iPhone will work overseas

NEW YORK (AP) — The next Verizon iPhone model will work on overseas networks, a Verizon Communications Inc. executive confirmed Thursday in what may have been an accidental lifting of the secrecy that usually surrounds Apple Inc.'s products.

Verizon Communications Inc.'s chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, told analysts on a quarterly earnings conference call that the new phone would be a "global" version, implying that it will be able to roam on the "GSM" wireless networks that are common in other countries.

Rival AT&T Inc.'s version of the iPhone already works on GSM networks. Verizon started selling its own, non-GSM version on Feb. 10.

Apple hasn't revealed any details on the next iPhone. It didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment before business hours Thursday on the West Coast.

Shammo didn't say when the new phone would launch, but he implied that Verizon and AT&T would be on an "equal footing" later this year. That would mean that the two carriers would get the next iPhone model simultaneously. Apple has released previous iPhone models in late June and early July, but analysts are saying it could be a few months later this year.

In a later interview Thursday, Shammo said he didn't want to comment further on Apple's plans.

On Wednesday, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook reinforced the notion that the next iPhone would not be capable of using Verizon's new super-fast "LTE" data network. AT&T is building a similar network and plans to have it up and running in a few areas this summer.

Cook said early LTE chips for phones force design compromises that Apple isn't prepared to make. That could mean that the chips are too big to fit inside the iPhone, or that they consume a lot of battery power.

Competitor HTC Corp. is already selling an LTE phone, the Thunderbolt, that uses Verizon's network. Verizon on Thursday reported strong early sales of the phone.

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