26% of iPhone Users Will Switch to Verizon, iPhone Pre-Orders Set Record

Though only initially available on its 3G wireless network, Verizon Wireless set an all-time, first-day record for pre-orders with Apple's iPhone 4 Thursday, forcing the wireless carrier to shutter online orders for the time being.

In a statement, Verizon Wireless officials would not disclose exactly how many iPhone 4 pre-orders it received before pulling the plug.

"This was an exciting day," Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, said in a statement. "In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history."

Mead said the first orders started flooding in between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. ET and the frenetic pace continued throughout the rest of the day before Verizon called it quits at roughly 8 p.m. ET.

"I am proud of our employees who worked tirelessly to strengthen and scale our systems, enabling unprecedented customer orders through our website," he added. "Yesterday’s launch set the pace for next week when we open up sales to everyone across America."

At the same time Verizon Wireless was finally starting to reap the benefits of its protracted negotiations to join AT&T Wireless as the only two carriers servicing the wildly popular smartphone, a new survey from uSamp suggests Thursday's feeding frenzy is just the tip of the iceberg.

And if you're interested in making a move yourself, you better bring a couple books, some warm clothes and a comfortable beach chair.

The Encino, Calif.-based online market research firm's survey of 727 smartphone users over a three-day stretch in late January found that 29 percent of existing iPhone customers said they were literally willing to wait in line to switch to the Verizon model, a small but damning testament to just how displeased many customers have become with AT&T's beleaguered 3G network.

The numbers tell the story. Forty-eight percent of AT&T iPhone customers said the No. 1 reason they intend to leave for the Verizon model was dropped calls. Second on the list? Carrier coverage at 25 percent.

Interest in Verizon's iPhone is particularly pronounced among younger iPhone users. The survey found that 35 percent of iPhone devotees between 18 and 24 years of age and 50 percent of those between 25 and 34 said they're willing to wait in line to make the switch.

While smartphone users are notoriously fickle and now have more options than ever before, it's clear that by adding Verizon and its robust service coverage the iPhone 4 is best positioned to seduce defectors.

Among current Verizon BlackBerry and Android users who said they intend to jump ship for the iPhone, 46 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they'll get in line to make it happen. Within this demographic, 60 percent cited the iPhone's "interface" as the main reason for switching.

Customers who weren't able to pre-order the iPhone 4 from Verizon Thursday will be able to rectify that situation on Feb. 10 when it becomes available at more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless stores, Best Buy outlets, some Wal-Mart stores and from either Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) of Verizon's websites.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, smartphones, Verizon, AT&T, mobile devices