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Verizon may sell 12 million iPhones

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company, will sell 9 million to 12 million iPhones this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing analyst estimates.

The lower number would boost Apple Inc.’s overall sales by 5 percent, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., the Journal said.

The iPhone may capture 5 percent of Verizon’s customers in its first quarter on sale, according to Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall, who estimates sales of 12 million units, the newspaper reported. That’s a faster rate than when AT&T Inc. first offered the phone in June 2007, the Journal said.

Analysts are divided over how many customers will switch to Verizon from AT&T, according to the Journal.