Verizon Wireless plans to start selling Palm Inc's Pre and a new version of the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm in about six months, the top executive for the venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc said on Thursday.
Shares in Sprint Nextel Corp, the exclusive launch provider for Pre, fell 2 percent after the comments from Lowell McAdam, as the highly anticipated Pre is seen as key to helping No. 3-ranked Sprint stem subscriber losses.
Shares in Palm were up 8 percent after the announcement of a second U.S. carrier for the device on which Palm is depending heavily to revamp its own business and regain market share from rivals such as Apple Inc's iPhone.
Over the next six months or so you will see devices like Palm Pre and a second generation Storm, on the Verizon Wireless network, McAdam told a webcast.
He said Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 mobile service, would also support phones based on Android, the Google Inc mobile system, later this year.
Sprint's exclusivity period for Pre is expected to last at least until the end of 2009.
Randall Stephenson, the chief Executive for AT&T Inc, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, had said during a conference on Wednesday that his company would also like to sell Pre but he did not give a timeframe.
The news comes ahead of Sprint's June 6 launch of Pre and the expected announcement of new iPhone from Apple Inc the week after that.
AT&T is the exclusive U.S. provider for iPhone and derives much of its customer growth from the wildly popular and much imitated touchscreen device.
Verizon Wireless is already the exclusive U.S. carrier for the first BlackBerry Storm launched by Research In Motion late last year. While reviews of the first Storm were mixed, Verizon had said January 28 that it had sold 1 million phones since the device's November 21 launch.
RIM had said earlier this month that it was planning a new edition of Storm to help it push into the consumer market but it had not announced a timeframe.
McAdam said during the webcast of an investor conference that his company had big plans for device launches for the rest of this year but that he would not be dependent on any one device for keeping customers and winning new ones.
You can expect to see us launch a steady stream of new devices from multiple vendors, he said.
Sprint shares were down 10 cents to $4.97 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange while Palm shares were up 87 cents to $11.40 on Nasdaq. RIM's U.S. shares were up $1.17 to $78.46 on Nasdaq. Verizon shares were up 15 cents at $29.10 on the NYSE.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Franklin Paul; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)