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Friday, February 04, 2011, 05:50 am PT (08:50 am ET)

Preorders of Apple's iPhone 4 break Verizon sales record in 2 hours

Verizon on Friday declared that presales of the iPhone 4 exceeded any other launch in the company's history in just the first two hours, though the carrier declined to provide actual sales figures.

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

"And, when you consider these initial orders were placed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., it is an incredible success story. It is gratifying to know that our customers responded so enthusiastically to this exclusive offer — designed to reward them for their loyalty."

Though Verizon didn't provide any specific sales figures, analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets issued a brief note to investors in which he said the "limited" pre-order availability was likely restricted to less than 100,000. For comparison, the Motorola Droid, when it launched in 2009, was estimated to have sold 100,000 in its first weekend, while the GSM iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million in its first three days of availability last June.

Verizon and Apple stopped taking preorders at 8:10 p.m. on Thursday, just over 17 hours after existing Verizon customers were first able to place an order. It marked the most successful sales day in the company's history.

"I am proud of our employees who worked tirelessly to strengthen and scale our systems, enabling unprecedented customer orders through our website," Mead said. "Overall, it was a very good day."

He also reminded customers that they will have another opportunity to order the CDMA iPhone 4 when it launches on Feb. 10 at 7 a.m. local time in Apple's U.S. retail stores and more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless Communication Stores. On Feb. 9, all qualified customers will be able to order a Verizon iPhone 4 through the Apple online store for delivery or in-store pick-up beginning Feb. 10.

"Yesterday's launch set the pace for next week when we open up sales to everyone across America," Mead said.