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Verizon reports flat iPhone activations despite launch of 5s and 5c

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Verizon Wireless reported third-quarter earnings Thursday that generally met expectations, but did come with one surprise for Apple-watchers. 

During a conference call with analysts, Verizon executives said the company had 3.9 million iPhone activations in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That's the same number it had in the second quarter that ended in June, and down a bit from the 4 million activations it had in the first quarter ending in March.

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The number is still up 26% from the 3.1 million iPhone activations it had a year ago. 

Activations count new phones as well as phones purchased on the resale market or handed down to other friends and family members. 

The number was a bit surprising considering Apple launched the iPhone 5s and 5c at the end of the quarter. Both phones went on sale Sept. 20, meaning they were only on sale for the last 10 days of the quarter. 

Still, with record first-weekend sales of 9 million iPhones reported by Apple, there had been some expectation that carriers would see on uptick in sales. At the same time, sales may have tapered off earlier in the quarter as consumers waited for the new phones. 

On the conference call, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo noted that the iPhone 5s in particular was in short supply, leaving Verizon unable to meet some demand from customers.

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