Highly anticipated iPhone hits Verizon stores

The Apple iPhone hit Verizon stores Feb. 10. Many UNA students eagerly anticipated the arrival of the phone.

After three years of AT&T exclusivity, Verizon gave its customers something they’ve been eyeing for years: the Apple iPhone. Feb. 10 marked the release of the Verizon iPhone 4, and stores prepared for a legion of anxious customers. However, according to online sites like Reuters, lengthy lines did not greet the iPhone. Verizon offered two separate preorder times, and Verizon Wireless Regional Spokesperson Kate Jay believes this is the reason for the decline of early bird shoppers.

“The phone, as of Feb. 10, was available at over 2,000 stores nationwide,” she said. “We had brisk, steady sales all day. Preorders last Thursday (Feb. 3) for existing customers broke single launch day record in two hours. Preorders also opened up to the general public Feb. 9. A lot of customers utilized those two opportunities. I look at it as more of a testament to our preparation than anything else.”

Verizon customers didn’t seem to care about how they got their iPhone, they just wanted the phone in their hands. iPhones are all over UNA’s campus, and sophomore Drew Harrison was excited to make the jump.

“I had a first generation Motorola Droid, but it broke constantly,” he said. “I think I went through three different phones. I’m ready to have a device as dependable as the iPhone.”

New features like the mobile hotspot were nice, but UNA student Blake Clark agreed with Harrison, he was enticed by the phone’s dependability.

“Apple makes the best products,” Clark said. “I have a MacBook Pro and an iPod. So, for me, I try to buy devices from the same company so they can sync up. It’s great to have all of my calendars organized and easily accessible.”

Although Jay couldn’t comment directly on Verizon’s advantages over the AT&T version, she did say that Verizon had a lot to bring to the table.

“A big benefit is that it’s on the Verizon wireless network,” she said. “We have a longstanding commitment to empower our customers to use devices when they want and where they want. We cover 92 percent of the state of Alabama with our 3G network. I’m a firm believer in providing network reliability.”

Verizon made that a goal in 2010. According to the company’s most recent Alabama network enhancement data, Verizon added six new cell sites, added network capacity in 193 cities and increased wireless traffic data by over 80 percent, and increased Text Messaging Service nearly 155 percent from the same time period in 2009.

The iPhone launch was big, but Verizon wants to be sure that customers aren’t just getting a great phone and lackluster service.

“We’ve always believed even the most advanced device is only as good as the network it runs on. Verizon Wireless is well prepared for network capacity growth needs in 2011 and beyond, ensuring that our customers in Alabama will continue to be able to rely on the nation’s largest and most reliable network,” said Jeff Mango, president of the Georgia/Alabama region for Verizon Wireless, in a recent press release. “Verizon Wireless’ laser focus on reliability is based on rigid engineering standards and a disciplined deployment approach year after year. We commit to maintaining our network leadership for Alabamians so that they can connect wherever and whenever they need.”

Clark echoed those sentiments.

“A lot of my decision to go with the iPhone was the Verizon service itself,” he said. “AT&T didn’t have 3G here when the iPhone 4 first came out. I held out until Verizon got the phone. I feel like that was a great decision.”