Verizon(s VZ) and AT&T(s T) are still struggling to fill backorders for the iPhone 5, but Sprint(s S) isn’t having that problem. An analyst report following Sprint’s third-quarter earnings on Thursday noted that 32GB and 64GB versions of Apple’s new device are in ample supply at the nation’s third-largest carrier.
Stifel Nicolaus telecom analysts said in a note to investors on Thursday:
We note that our checks continue to show Sprint is the only national carrier with ample inventory of the iPhone 5 currently, across much of the country, where the handset is still backordered at both Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The 32 GB and 64 GB handsets would be shipped in less than a week, according to the company’s website this morning, whereas Verizon Wireless’ website is still showing a 3-week+ backlog for all iPhone 5 handsets.
AT&T, in its earnings earlier this week, cited supply shortages of the iPhone 5 as one reason for its weaker-than-expected growth. The company’s CEO said supply was “varying widely” from day to day.
Same for Verizon. The company’s CFO, Fran Shammo, said last week during the carrier’s earnings call that iPhone 5 supply was constrained and that “we’re not sure where we’re going to stand in the fourth quarter.”
But the fact that Sprint seems to have them in supply doesn’t mean Sprint isn’t selling iPhones. The company said Thursday that it sold 1.5 million iPhones during the third quarter — the same number it sold in each of the previous two quarters — though it’s not clear how many of those were iPhone 5 units.
It’s been reported that Apple is having a hard time churning out iPhone 5 handsets at the speed it would like, and at the speed in which customers keep placing orders. The device is a challenge to put together, causing the head of Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn to say it’s the “most difficult device Foxconn has ever assembled.”