ThunderBolt sales bolt ahead of iPhone 4 at some Verizon stores

BTIG survey shows majority of 150 stores sell about the same of each smartphone

The ThunderBolt smartphone from HTC has outsold the iPhone 4 at some Verizon Wireless stores, according to a survey of 150 stores by BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk.

The LTE-capable ThunderBolt, which has won praise for fast downloads of 12 Mbit/sec. or more, went on sale two weeks ago. The iPhone 4 first went on sale at Verizon stores in February.

Piecyk told Wired that his firm called 150 Verizon stores in 22 major cities in the last week asking whether more ThunderBolts or iPhone 4s were sold.

A total of 61% of the stores said they sold the same amount of both phones, while 28% had sold more ThunderBolts and 11% said they sold more iPhones (mainly in the Southeast U.S.).

Verizon rarely reveals sales figures, although the company did say that the iPhone 4 launch resulted in more sales in the first two hours than any other phone.

Verizon could not be reached immediately on Friday to comment about the BTIG survey.

A sales representative for a Verizon store in Framingham, Mass., said that the store "sells a lot of iPhone 4s and a lot of ThunderBolts, so they compete against each other pretty well."

While the fast LTE speeds of the ThunderBolt have improved browsing by 10 times or more over Verizon's CDMA/EV-DO 3G network speeds, some reviewers and testers have noticed the smartphone depletes its battery quickly, and Verizon is selling a $50 added-capacity battery atop the $250 hardware price, when purchased with a service plan.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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