A crush of online iPhone 4 pre-orders from existing Verizon account holders came in Thursday, with some customers complaining about error messages. The problem, however, rests with the user name or cell phone number that customers are logging into the system with -- not the system itself.
It turns out that only the account holder's user ID or cell phone number should be entered, not the phone number of the family member who's trying to get a shiny new iPhone, says Brenda Raney, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman. Verizon is working on changing the log-in site to include those instructions, she adds.
Now They Tell Us
"We know some of our customers have encountered problems, but it's an account-specific problem and not a network problem," Raney says. She explains that the problem has mostly affected customers who have family plans, with multiple users but only one account holder.
For those who've waited hours trying to log onto the system, it would have been useful to know that much earlier.
Verizon (VZ) customers for the past several years have been pining to get their hands on an iPhone, but were locked out due to Apple's (AAPL) exclusive agreement with AT&T (T) to be the sole U.S. carrier. Now that Verizon has it own iPhone deal with Apple, analysts expect that pent-up demand to come bursting through this month as pre-orders take hold and the phones become available in stores on Feb. 10.
So far, Verizon's iPhone 4 inventory is holding up, Raney says. The carrier is putting aside a limited number of them for existing customers during the pre-order rush. Those phones are scheduled for delivery on or before Feb. 10, when the general public can buy.
"The inventory is fine. We did plan for a lot of customers, and we're comfortable with where we are now," Raney says. She declines to comment on whether sales are moving faster than anticipated and whether Verizon will still be comfortable five days from now.
What About Next Week?
Verizon's archrival AT&T was slammed last year when it sold out of iPhone 4 pre-orders after its first day and had difficulty managing the hordes of online buyers.
The next test for Verizon comes seven days from now, when folks can head to Verizon Wireless stores to pick up an iPhone 4. When AT&T and Apple began their sales, some die-hard fans camped out in line for days.
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