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Sprint: iPhone 5 supply out or constrained on East Coast

AT&T and Verizon Wireless have yet to discuss their sales amid continued high demand for the phone.

The doors open in Palo Alto, Calif. Really, bubbles do make shopping seem more fun. James Martin/CNET

Sprint said stores on the East Coast were "seriously constrained or sold out" of iPhone 5 inventory just hours after the device went on sale.

"We are extremely pleased with the response from new and existing customers to iPhone 5 from Sprint," said a Sprint representative.

Follow CNET's live coverage of the iPhone 5 launch.

AT&T hasn't yet provided any details on how sales went, but there were short or no lines at its stores. A Verizon Wireless representative said there continued to be inventory at its stores.

Usually for an Apple launch event, all the attention, hype, and crowds gather at the marquee Apple Stores, including the one at Fifth Avenue in New York, or the flagship store in San Francisco. But customers with less patience head to the carriers, which offer many more stores and less wait.

Sprint said customers can add their names to a wait list at the company's stores by buying a $50 Sprint gift card. The company said that the stores will be resupplied as soon as Sprint gets additional inventory from Apple.

Sprint has attempted to set itself apart by being the only carrier to offer the iPhone with a no-strings unlimited data plan. But with the iPhone 5 running on the 4G LTE network, Sprint is at a disadvantage with its minimal deployment relative to larger competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

While no carriers are providing figures yet, AT&T appears to have taken the lion's share of orders. AT&T had 68 percent of iPhone 5 pre-orders over the first three days of availability, according to ComScore. Verizon had a quarter of the share, with Sprint nabbing only 8 percent. AT&T has the largest base of existing iPhone customers because of its prior exclusivity agreement with Apple.

Update, 9:39 a.m. PT: Includes a comment from Verizon on its inventory.

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