Sprint cites record sales for EVO, no specifics

Mon Jun 7, 2010 12:40pm EDT

Related Topics

* Says record sales, some shortages

* Does not give specific numbers

* Analysts say sales solid but no iPhone

* Sprint shares down 4 cents

NEW YORK, June 7 (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N), the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider, said HTC Corp's (2498.TW) high-speed EVO phone had broken its previous record for sales of any single phone in one day when it went on sale Friday.

Sprint did not give specific sales numbers for the Friday launch, but said strong demand led to temporary shortages at some locations providing the first U.S. phone to support fourth generation (4G) high-speed Internet services.

It said the shortages hit an undisclosed number of Sprint's stores, as well as retailers RadioShack Corp (RSH.N), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) where the phone was also on sale.

Sprint, which is banking on EVO to help it stem years of losses of valuable postpaid monthly-bill paying subscribers, said it is working with HTC to increase inventory.

Sprint shares were down on New York Stock Exchange on Monday, but the stock had already risen more than 20 percent this year, partly in anticipation of the EVO, which was unveiled this spring.

While the EVO phone launch drew nowhere near the level consumer excitement Apple Inc (AAPL.O) attracts during an iPhone launch, analysts said demand was solid.

Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Larsen said EVO appeared to do better than Palm Inc's PALM.O Pre phone, which was launched with much fanfare as an exclusive at Sprint last year, but ended up ultimately falling short of expectations.

Larsen said many stores had lines of 20 consumers or less waiting to buy the phone on Friday and that some stores he checked had sold out Sunday.

"Given the solid, but less than fabulous launch -- we think it was above average even with sales limited by supply, and moderately better than the Pre, but certainly not on the level of an iPhone refresh," Larsen said in a research note.

Apple is expected to unveil its next iPhone later Monday, potentially luring away some customers who might otherwise have bought Sprint's EVO, according to analysts.

Other pitfalls for EVO could be the fact that Sprint charges a $10 per month service premium for the device and the fact that it does not have national 4G coverage.

Sprint is using a network being built by Clearwire Corp CLWR.O, Sprint's venture with cable companies, to sell 4G services. The Clearwire network is based on an emerging technology known as WiMax and expected to have coverage for 120 million people by year end.

EVO is the first phone to support the WiMax network is seen giving Sprint the chance to get a head start on its biggest rival, Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L).

Verizon Wireless is planning to launch 4G services with coverage for 100 million potential customers around the end of this year. Verizon expects to show off its first 4G phones early next year.

Sprint shares were down 4 cents at $4.74 in midday trading on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Andre Grenon)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
jlasun wrote:
They would have sold more especially with those who are willing to upgrade if Dan Hesse did not lie to everyone.

Jun 07, 2010 1:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
gstraut wrote:
Went down to Best Buy to get a holster and overheard the sales clerk tell a customer that no EVOs were available anywhere in the Denver Metro area. Not bad for a phone that has been barely advertised.

Jun 07, 2010 4:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.