Would VZW iPhone sales be bigger if announced at CES 2011?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: February 17, 2011

Most everyone assumed that the Verizon iPhone, when it finally launched on Verizon’s network, would break sales records. The rumors, the speculation, and the general hype about the future release of the handset lead to the general belief that there’d be a huge migration from AT&T (and other carriers) to Verizon. But, while Verizon was quick to announce breaking records, a new report suggests that the iPhone 4’s launch on Verizon wasn’t as big as everyone thought it would be. Sure, it may have beaten out AT&T’s launch when you look at the first five days of availability, but it looks like people were expecting more.

No one was surprised when Verizon announced that, in just two hours, the iPhone had managed to generate more sales than any other device launched on the network. Impressive in of itself, it was left to speculation to come up with just how many iPhones Verizon managed to move in the pre-order stage. The general consensus believes it was 550,000, or in that region. In a new report, it seems that iPhone sales on and after the February 10th launch weren’t as good as people hoped, or expected.

The obvious culprits as to why this would happen have all been discussed to death. Early Termination Fees (ETFs) from customers on other networks who can’t (or won't) pay to get out of their contracts; AT&T customers who already have an iPhone who aren’t all that displeased with their service; or the upcoming release of a new iPhone.

But, what about the fact that Verizon decided to announce the iPhone 4’s impending launch right after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada? Verizon’s presence at CES was one of the largest, and the wireless carrier took time at the show to showcase some pretty impressive handsets – all of which have yet to be released. Handsets like the HTC ThunderBolt, the Motorola Bionic, or even the unnamed Samsung 4G device are all perfectly capable of drawing some attention away from the iPhone 4.

I think if Verizon would have managed to announce the iPhone 4 before CES, or even at CES (before the other aforementioned handsets, though), that the sales numbers for the iPhone 4 would have increased a little bit. To me, the iPhone 4 is already almost a year old, there’s a new one coming, and Verizon’s got new handsets coming down the pipe that are genuinely worth a second look. All of that could equal some hesitation from potential customers.

Besides the obvious reasons, do you have any other ideas as to why the Verizon iPhone sales were low? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Products mentioned