Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Verizon iPhone 4 draws handful of customers due to bad weather

Frigid temperatures and frozen roads may have lessened the lines but did not keep anxious Nashvillians from grabbing the Verizon iPhone 4 this morning.

Belmont University junior Katie Lemons bribed her roommate with breakfast at Pancake Pantry to get her to wake up at 5 a.m. and wait in the snow outside the Verizon store in Green Hills.
The phone, which has been available to AT&T customers for four years, now can run on Verizon, which touts itself as a more reliable network with less dropped calls and coverage in more areas.

With a two-year contract, the Verizon iPhone 4 retails for $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model.

“I was pretty excited about switching from the Blackberry because it freezes all the time,” Lemons said. “Being here wasn’t just about being one of the first in line as it was making I got one before they ran out.”

She had already planned which iPhone applications she would download before the store opened at 7 a.m. with 14 cheering sales representatives welcoming customers in from the cold.

Cars began lining up two hours earlier and customers clutched cups of Starbucks coffee the wireless carrier provided.

Michael Kaplan, 32, and his wife both switched from Verizon to AT&T two years ago to get the iPhone 3G but returned to Verizon this morning.

“The service (with AT&T) is frustrating. I drop five to 10 calls a day in my condo,” he said. “The prices of the two networks are pretty comparable but service is the major issue.”

To avoid any hiccups with its iPhone 4 launch, Verizon preassembled smart phones and put every employee on the clock, said Verizon spokeswoman Karen Schulz.

“We have taken every step possible including housing employees in hotels near our retail stores overnight to ensure our operations run as planned,” Schulz said.

“Everything that we have done we have done with the customers in mind. We are expecting record high demand with the phone being made available to 94 million Verizon customers that is wasn’t available to before.”

Two blocks away inside the Mall at Green Hills, mall walkers outnumbered the one customer waiting for Apple to open its doors at 7 a.m. The store anticipated long lines to begin at midnight and signs on the mall’s entrances directed customers to park in the Macy’s garage.

Read more in Friday’s edition of The Tennessean.

Contact Juanita Cousins at 615-259-8287, or

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