Verizon Wireless sold more iPhones online than in stores, its top executive told Reuters, disputing a concern that the sparse crowds that greeted the launch of the Apple Inc device signaled low sales.

Chief Executive Daniel Mead said demand for the phone has been at record levels since Verizon Wireless began selling the phone on its website February 3.

Mead told Reuters that the lack of long lines outside Verizon Wireless stores on February 10, the day it hit store shelves, could be attributed to the fact that about 60 percent of the company's iPhone sales were made on its website.

The executive said the device had helped substantially increase the rate at which customers switched to Verizon Wireless from all its other U.S. rivals.

At peak sales times Mead said iPhone brought 100 times more orders than usual to its website.

He reaffirmed the company's guidance that it would sell as many as 11 million iPhones in 2011. He said the company would give specific iPhone sales figures when it reports first-quarter earnings.

This is the largest retail launch we've seen, the executive said. When I look over the last three weeks or so is (sold) much more than we've seen in any previous device.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Richard Chang)