Sprint customers line up as it gets 1st iPhone

October 14, 2011 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer
A line of people, wanting to purchase the new Apple iPhone 4S, wait in line for a Sprint store to open in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. Apple's latest iPhone arrived to an enthusiastic response from buyers camped out at stores Friday, but many observers noted the crowds were smaller than those that gathered for previous releases. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(AP) -- Apple stores got the longest lines as the new iPhone model launched Friday, but there were lines at Sprint stores too, as the carrier got a chance to sell the phone more than four years after the first model was launched.

Product chief Fared Adib said that by midday, the had broken Sprint's record for first-day sales of any phone. Sales were above the company's expectations, he said, without giving any figures.

Corp. joined bigger carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless as a seller of the phone. Spot checks in Philadelphia and San Francisco showed that the lines outside Sprint stores were longer than at its rivals.

Sprint is struggling to compete with the bigger carriers and expects the iPhone to help it keep subscribers.

In Chicago, 18-year-old Torian Marshall was among the 150 or so people lined up outside an Apple store on Friday morning. He had been holding off on getting an iPhone until his service provider, Sprint, got it.

"I'm so excited. I've been waiting forever," he said.

Kaufman Bros. analyst Ben Abramovitz said talks with about 50 people in line for the phone at a Sprint store revealed that most of them are current Sprint customers looking to upgrade, particularly BlackBerry users looking for a more Internet-friendly phone. He also found some AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA customers looking to switch.

Sprint will be paying a lot of money to put iPhones in customer hands: It's subsidizing each iPhone 4S by about $400 to get it down to the $200 price for the 16 gigabyte version. It's also selling the cheaper iPhone 4.

Credit ratings agency Moody's Investor Service on Friday downgraded Sprint's debt, sending it further into speculative-grade, or "junk" territory. Part of the reason is the cash drain that iPhone sales will cause before they start paying off through higher monthly service fees.

The chief reason behind the downgrade, however, is Sprint's decision to upgrade its wireless network for faster data speeds, Moody's said. Sprint revealed that decision a week ago, to the dismay of investors.

Sprint's stock increased 1 cent to close Friday at $2.79.

Explore further: Report says Sprint to get iPhone in October

0 shares

Related Stories

Report says Sprint to get iPhone in October

August 23, 2011

(AP) -- Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone company, will start selling the iPhone in mid-October, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.

A buyer's guide to the new iPhone 4S

October 5, 2011

(AP) -- Apple is trotting out a new iPhone on Oct. 14, but it's not the iPhone 5 some were expecting. Instead, it's a more modest upgrade, the iPhone 4S. Here are some facts to help you decide if it's time to make the plunge.

Sprint: No more Clearwire devices after 2012

October 7, 2011

(AP) -- Sprint Nextel Corp. said Friday that it will stop selling phones and other devices compatible with Clearwire Corp.'s network at the end of next year, as it switches customers to its own higher-speed, fourth-generation ...

Sprint down after testy meeting with analysts

October 8, 2011

(AP) -- The struggling wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. said Friday that it will need to raise more money to build a higher-speed data network even as it must spend more to subsidize sales of the new iPhone to its customers.

Recommended for you

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.