* 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 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
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Andre Grenon)