Sprint backtracks on Evo sales estimates

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said it made a mistake when it reported initial sales estimates for the HTC Evo 4G, its first 3G/4G phone and the company's flagship device.

“Sorry, this device is so hot we can't keep it on our virtual shelves,” Sprint warns on its website. “Check back later--more are on their way!”"We originally reported that the total number of HTC Evo 4G devices sold on launch day was three times the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined," Sprint said in a statement. "We inadvertently erred in the comparison. The total number of HTC Evo 4G devices sold on launch day was in line with the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined. "

The carrier gave the initial launch day sales figures on Monday. In its new estimates, Sprint said it sold six times as many Evos on launch day as the Samsung Instinct, and nearly twice as many Evos as the Palm Pre when the Pre launched last year. Sprint spokeswoman Michelle Michelle Leff Mermelstein told FierceWireless the error was due to a simple miscalculation, and said as soon as the carrier realized the mistake it corrected the estimates.

As a result, BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk cut his weekend Evo sales estimate to 150,000, from his prior estimate of 250,000 to 300,000. "Furthermore, our calls to 20-plus stores today indicate that the phone is in short supply, so we do not expect that number to rise significantly in the first week of sales," Piecyk said.

Sprint is banking on the Evo to turn into a solid hit as well as serve as a showcase for Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network as it looks to win back postpaid subscribers. The Evo is currently sold out, according to Sprint's website. The phone costs $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate for a new line or eligible upgrade.

For more:
- see this release
- see this BTIG blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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