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Analysts mull how many iPhones Verizon will sell

Various analysts offer their forecasts, with some eyeing sales of 1 million units the first week, 2 million this quarter, and 9 million for the year.

Verizon Wireless

How many iPhones could Verizon sell now that the long-awaited device has hit the shelves? As expected, that question has prompted the usual collection of analysts to gaze into their crystal balls, as reported by Bloomberg and other news sources.

Looking at the short term, Verizon Wireless could sell more than 1 million units in the first week beginning today, forecasts analyst Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Market, a number that he believes may even cause the carrier to run out of stock, according to Barron's.

Focusing on the current quarter, projections vary. Analysts Rick Franklin from Edward Jones, Jennifer Fritzsche at Wells Fargo Securities, and Ashok Kumar from Rodman & Renshaw, all are forecasting that Verizon may sell 2 million iPhones from now until March 31, according to Bloomberg.

In a phone call with CNET, Kumar confirmed the 2 million number for the current quarter. But Abramsky is looking for more, says Barron's, projecting that as many as 3 to 4 million Verizon iPhones could fly off the shelves by the time the quarter ends.

For 2011 as a whole, Kumar told CNET that he's estimating sales of around 8 million iPhones from Verizon. But again, Abramsky upped the figure, eyeing sales of at least 9 million iPhones and as many as 11 million as forecast by Verizon, according to a January 25 conference call. Abramsky also noted that the company believes it could sell even more barring any supply issues.

Verizon Wireless is selling the 16GB iPhone for $199.99 and the 32GB model for $299.99. CNET reporter Maggie Reardon is camped out in a frigid New York City today to cover the launch of the iPhone and the crowds braving the 20-degree temperatures to get their first shot at it.