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RAIN 2/4: Verizon iPhone pre-order sells-out, breaks company records

Posted on: 02/04/2011

RECORD-SETTING NUMBER OF VERIZON CUSTOMERS UPGRADE TO NET RADIO-FRIENDLY iPHONE 4

Verizon began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 yesterday, only to sell-out hours later. Verizon now says the pre-order-spree broke the company’s previous first-day sales record and it did so in the first 2 hours of going on sale — between 3am and 5am EST. The iPhone up until now has been exclusive with AT&T in the U.S.

Even more impressively, pre-orders were only available to current Verizon subscribers. Customers from AT&T looking to jump ship — not to mention others on T-Mobile and Sprint — haven’t even been given a chance to buy a Verizon iPhone yet. That happens on February 10. Engadget has more coverage here and here.

Analysts have predicted Apple will sell 9 to 12 million iPhones on Verizon (more from WSJ here). That should shake-up the current worldwide smartphone marketplace in which Google’s Android has recently topped Apple (RAIN coverage here).

This is all good news for webcasters. The iPhone (and its App Store) arguably made the mobile Internet radio explosion possible. Without the iPhone, webcasters like Pandora and Slacker almost certainly couldn’t claim that half their audiences tune in via mobile devices. One study found that over 40% of iPhone users have streamed online music (RAIN coverage here). The iPhone is also a core component to many in-car Internet radio systems (RAIN coverage here).

Additionally, many of these Verizon subscribers upgrading to an iPhone 4 are likely coming from “last-generation” mobile platforms like BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and others. They are ditching operating systems generally unfriendly to apps — and thus Internet radio mobile offerings — and jumping on board to arguably the best app platform out there. — MS

NORWAY TO SWITCH OFF FM BY 2017

The government of Norway has announced its plans to move all radio listening to the European standard DAB/DAB+ digital radio platform, eliminating FM broadcasting by January 2017.

Countries all over the world have encouraged the development of digital broadcast platforms for radio (such as IBOC HD Radio here in the U.S.), but Norway is now the first to announce its intentions and set a date to switch off analog radio.

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture issued a report explaining the decision (the 2 preceding links are in Norwegian, but can be translated online), and establishing the criteria to be met before the shut-off occurs. You can read more about it in Gunnar Garfors blog. You might also find interesting his blog on why FM radio is ‘almost history.’ (Garfos is CEO of Norwegian Mobile TV Corporation (NMTV) and President of International DMB Advancement Group (IDAG))

CANADA TO REVERSE USAGE-BASED BROADBAND BILLING DECISION

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, with the backing of the Prime Minister, is reportedly demanding that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) undo their ruling that ISPs can charge by the gigabyte. That decision led to a 25GB per month usage cap for some subscribers (RAIN coverage here).

“The Prime Minister and Minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself,” said a member of Canada’s conservative government. Ars Technica has more coverage here.

HEAVY METAL WEBCASTER HARDRADIO RELEASES PREMIUM iPHONE APP

HardRadio was the inaugural RAIN Internet Radio Award-winner in the “Best Single-Stream Webcaster” category (in RAIN here).

Founder and president Tracy Barnes tells us his service has released the HardRadio Premium iPhone app, available now for $1.99 in the Apple App Store. The app displays recently-played tracks with CD cover art work, news, links to podcasts, video, concert dates, variable streaming bitrates, and more.

Check out Hard Radio here.



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