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The No. 1 U.S. mobile service started taking
online orders for its Apple Inc iPhone at 3 a.m. EST on Thursday, a week
before it is due to hit its store shelves. Verizon Wireless had said it
was preparing for heavy demand.

Spokeswoman
Brenda Raney said the company was pleased with how the online system
had performed and that "the majority of customers have been able to
process their orders with no problems." However, this was not the case
for everybody.

"We are aware that
some customers have received error messages and we are working through
the issues with the individuals to ensure they get their order placed,"
Raney said.

Verizon’s launch of
online sales ended AT&T Inc’s more than three-years’ hold on U.S.
operator distribution of the popular device. Some analysts say Verizon
Wireless could sell as many as 13 million iPhones this year.

When AT&T and Apple launched pre-orders of the iPhone 4 in June last
year heavy demand had caused technical problems on both companies’
websites.

Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Jonathan Oatis; editing by Dave Zimmerman)