Apple Inc said on Wednesday that it would kick off online sales of the Verizon Wireless iPhone on February 9, a day before the device hits its store shelves.

Electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc also said on Wednesday that it, too, would distribute the new version of iPhone 4 in its stores starting on February 10, the device's official launch day. It already sells earlier iPhone models.

Verizon Wireless will start online sales of a limited number of iPhones to its existing mobile customers starting at 3 a.m. ET February 3 for delivery on or before February 10.

Apple said people ordering the phone on February 9 can have it delivered or reserve it for an in-store pickup February 10, when both companies plan to start offering the phone in their stores a 7 a.m. local time.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, will be the second U.S. operator to offer iPhone after AT&T Inc's more than three years of exclusive rights to the popular device.

Best Buy shares were up 0.8 percent at $34.69 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where Verizon was down 0.7 percent at $36.01 and AT&T fell 0.6 percent to $27.70. Apple was down 0.3 percent at $344.10 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn)