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Virgin Mobile iPhone sales turn out to be a bit lackluster

Posted: , by Charlene S.

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Virgin Mobile iPhone sales turn out to be a bit lackluster
This was the first weekend of the iPhone’s debut on pre-paid carrier Virgin Mobile. While it’s parent company, Sprint, was hoping for an iPhone bonanza, it is being reported that the opening weekend of sales was a bit lackluster.

Leading up to the launch, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was confident in the company’s decision to sell the iPhone through Virgin Mobile. "We think there's good demand for high-end devices like the iPhone in the prepaid market," he said in an interview with Bloomberg. "There's a misperception that the prepaid market is only for people that are economically challenged. That's not the case. Our expectation, based on preorders, is that the iPhone will do very well on Virgin."

While Virgin Mobile spokeswoman Jayne Wallace declined to comment on the sales this past weekend, an analyst with BTIG, Walter Piecyk, noted that there were zero iPhone line activation at eight RadioShack and Best Buy location in New York City and San Francisco.

Piecyk noted in a blog post that there was no signage on the stores or marketing material to support the launch. While he believed that there wouldn’t been that many people jumping at the opportunity to buy a pre-paid iPhone, he found the lack of advertising odd. “Phones were available, but the lack of marketing materials and the comments made by the store personnel we spoke to indicated that they did not expect many of their customers to opt for the costlier version of the iPhone,” he said.

Conversely, Cricket, who also just released the iPhone via its pre-paid channel has described opening weekend sales as “brisk,” although it also has not released official sales figures.

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posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:17 7

1. disneydad (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

Not a big surprise. Most consumers are completely unaware of the availability of the iPhone on Virgin Mobile due to, no surprise, no advertising regarding it!
I also think a bit of carrier prejudice plays into it as well. People who are traditionally postpaid with ATT and VZ seem to look down on all of the other carriers as inferior in every aspect.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:18 2

22. Birds (Posts: 1157; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

A lot of people don't even know the difference between prepaid and post paid. When they see the higher price, they immediately get turned off by it. lol Just wish people did their research like how we do.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:21 3

36. jyippy (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)

I am using Virgin Mobile and I was completely unaware about the availability of the iPhone. I was pretty close to buying one but what's stopping me is rumors of iPhone 5 coming out in a couple months.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:17 8

2. eman99 (Posts: 369; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)

just look how much there trying to sell it for, you have to be crazy to buy it at that price.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:03 3

11. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

I am paying $25 a month with Virgin because I paid $300 for the Moto Triumph (btw, it's currently on sale for $229). I could see myself paying $35 a month by stepping up to the $650 iPhone.

When you see people paying $80 to $100 a month over two years just save $450 on the phone, you have to ask yourself, which person is really FINANCIALLY crazy.

Just do the math: Virgin would cost $840 ($35 times 24 months) plus $650 for a total cost of $1,490 over 2 years while someone on a 2-year contract would pay $2,400 ($100 times 24 months) plus $200 for a total fo $2,600, respectively. I would prefer to pay the $1,490.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:35 4

24. disneydad (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

You would think by applying simple mathematical calculations people could grasp the money saving concept. You have no idea, unless you've worked for T-Mobile, how difficult it is for people to understand what you explained.
I've told countless people that there is no such thing as a "free" phone. You're paying for it one way or another, either upfront or in your plan. Pick your poison.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 01:42

54. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Yeah, and it's ultimately way cheaper to pay for anything all at once rather than split it into payments and deal with the interest.

However, I can tell you that most people don't have 600 to 700 bucks to throw at a phone. That's the kind of money you usually reserve for a full blown laptop. Hell, it's more than I paid for my FIRST CAR.

Therefore, what people are paying for is the privilege of not having to pay 600 bucks all at once, as well as the way f**kin' better coverage (and phones!) the contract carriers generally offer.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:17 7

3. bubbadoes (Posts: 987; Member since: 03 May 2012)

Not rocket science to me!!! Their is a reason why they are on Virgin Mobile They don't want a contract! They don't want over priced phones! and they don't want an iphone!! If they wanted a iphone they would have contracts with the Sprint, ATT or VW.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:17 9

4. good2great (Posts: 1042; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

prepaid customers aren't gonna pay that much for the iphone... come on now... lets be real... if it was $300 then there would have possibly been lines of people to buy it.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:21

5. dcgore (Posts: 227; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)

You can't expect people buying an off contranct phone that is about to be updated in 3 months How about launching the iphone 5 when it comes out? I would love to pay $30 a month compared to my $100+ at&t montly bill..

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 12:11

7. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)

"$100+" wow just wow, I have for 9$ plenty of sms/calls and 130MB transfer a day

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 17:53

40. hepresearch (unregistered)

Which country are you in? I am well aware that, here in the US, customers on just about any carrier are getting absolutely taken, more so on some than others, but still it is way overly expensive in the US regardless of carrier, prepaid or postpaid.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:06 1

12. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

I agree with you about the iPhone 5 -- I would rather spend the $650 on the new iPhone 5 than a 4S if I can wait 3 months.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:49 2

6. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

At that price I don't think it will sell all that well. A lot of people are on prepaid cause they're broke.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 12:59 7

10. TrainFromUkraine (Posts: 65; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

You've got it backwards, sparky. A lot of people are broke because they are on post-paid.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:30 1

15. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

for real. nothing like paying 140 per line every month just to save 400 on a phone every 2 years.. what a deal!

if people actually paid 2 seconds worth of attention to their bill and how much its actually costing them, there would be a mass exodus from ATT and VZW's pricing schemes. You guys are paying an arm and a leg to get what?? The PERCEPTION that your getting better service while paying nearly double or more compared to the value carriers? lol. Super fast speed and great coverage (yea its not as good as VZW's ,but for half the price its darn close enough) you can to to Tmobile. Tmo's prepaid is even cheaper. And there are other MNVOs like Boost,Metro, Walmart, and Virgin as well if you happen to be in their markets.

You pay more for the phone with cheaper service, but you pay a ton less over 2 years. For the vast majority of people out there, they are only giving up high monthly bills, as they live in metro areas with coverage by pretty much everyone.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:43

25. disneydad (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

I concur. The king of reception in my experience is VZ but you have no idea how blinded people are regarding their carriers.
I had a friend who was going to sign up himself, his wife, and his son on a T-Mobile Value plan when we had a FL special with the Samsung Gravity Smart, which were free! They had ATT and received no coverage in their house. After learning of the free Wifi calling available to them plus more minutes, texting, and smart phones the father and son were ready to go. AMAZINGLY, the wife did not want to switch. Why?? Because she liked AT&T.
My only reply to her was, 'Is there something going on between you and AT&T your husband should know about?'

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:10 1

34. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

exactly. People get in a stubborn mindset or loyalty.. for no reason. Its kind of like our resident idiots that swear all mental capacities (or lack there of) to the all mighty silver fruit.

Most people have 3-5 carriers they can chose from for their area. Its absolutely ridiculous to have an issue with one, or to pay out the nose... and never be willing to try something different. Another carrier may work for you.. it might not. But if it does, you will save tons.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 15:29 1

29. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

quite spamming the website for T Mobile. We get it you work for them.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:07 1

32. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

we get it, you dont work.

I'm not spamming for Tmobile. They just happen to be the best balance between cheap and coverage/speed.
Notice how I also mentioned Boost,Metro, Walmart, and Virgin? Or can you still not read?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:34

45. lsutigers (Posts: 820; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)

Let me tell you about Verizon's in-store tactics of bad-mouthing their competitors, to the extreme... Basically, when I worked for them, the drill went like this: Brainwashing customers into thinking anything other than Verizon sucks. Verizon is the biggest, fastest, has the best phones, best service, you get the point, they thought they were the best at everything, and everyone else was garbage. The epitome of corporate arrogance. Of course, we all know that at the time, and even now, some of those things are not true. For example, AT&T currently has the fastest LTE network, we'll see what happens when Sprint's upgraded networks go live, but as of right now, AT&T is fastest. Heck, even T-Mobile 4G HSPA+ beats out Verizon LTE in speed and coverage. And best customer service and arguably plans goes to Sprint at this time. There are pro's and con's to every company, and even that is cyclical, they trade places being on top. But one thing hasn't changed, Verizon is not the best at everything and not all other carriers suck.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 01:44

56. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

It's not perception. It's reality.

There are some areas that Verizon and AT&T cover which the budget carriers just don't.

I can tell you for a fact that when I lived in Western New York paying the extra for Verizon service was incredibly worth it. They were the only carrier with consistently strong coverage.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 17:56

41. hepresearch (unregistered)

Yes, they get broke on postpaid, and then switch to prepaid and never leave.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:35 2

17. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

you must be rich living in your mom's basement. just because your lvl 60 blue elf has 5 million gold in WoW doesnt mean it equates to real money. :)

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:56 7

18. TerryCrowley (Posts: 194; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)

I think you mean Night Elf. Theres no blue elves in WoW. GET IT RIGHT NERD.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:58 1

27. cdgoin (Posts: 533; Member since: 28 Jul 2010)

Ah... Nerd calling the nerd blue :)

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:06 1

31. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

if I was a WoW nerd, I would have gotten that right. Boom, ya just called yourself out. lol. Are you in Taco's group? Who's whos leader?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 17:31

38. TerryCrowley (Posts: 194; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)

No I ain't in Tacos "group" wtf. Tacos a sillybilly.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:19

35. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

Not elf but troll. :D

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:12 1

20. Otterbox (banned) (Posts: 71; Member since: 27 Jun 2012)

Yup. That's why they're usually given low quality phones on prepaid. The iPhone 4S is the only elite phone on prepaid that carries it.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 15:28 1

28. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3108; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

If the 4S is elite I guess that makes the EVO V super elite.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:45 1

26. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3108; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

Taco, you got it half right. A lot of people aren't going to buy it at that price but not because they are broke, because they can buy a better EVO phone for half the price.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:51

46. BREvenson (Posts: 240; Member since: 17 May 2012)

taco, you are most intriguing. Not only do you talk down to Android users, you also talk down to prepaid phone users. During my time as a wireless salesman, I made the assumption that most people who wanted prepaid didn't have much money...I was wrong. They have money, just not a lot of it to spend every month on a plan. That's why they go for these cheap plans, because they can afford them.

Sure, they pay more up front, but some are prepared to put out over $200 on a phone if it means that they'll be paying $35 a month for their plans, or $55 a month. In the case of the iPhone on Virgin, that was a dud to begin with. I don't see why anyone would pay over $600 for a phone, for whatever reason.

I talk highly of prepaid, but I am currently not one of their customers. I have a contract on Sprint, but that runs out in December. After that, I'm headed back to prepaid. Not because I'm broke...but because I want to save money on my phone service. Is that a crime?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 12:58 2

8. TrainFromUkraine (Posts: 65; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)

American carriers did a splendid job brainwashing consumers into believing that high-end phones should be cheap, just so they can lock their customers into a two-year pris... err, contract term. Average Joe Blow ends up paying a whole lot more than $600 for his iPhone, but hey, at least he looks stylish while taking it up the rear from ATT/VZW/Sprint.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 12:59 3

9. tlsmithsr (Posts: 81; Member since: 28 Sep 2010)

$650 really for a iphone on prepaid? Seriously?!
Just order a Galaxy Nexus for 350 unlocked from google.. Better specs Better OS 4g phone and its gsm and not cdma.. com'on

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:23

43. lubba (Posts: 1313; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

Some dumb chap will go for it because it's "the iPhone".

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:53

47. BREvenson (Posts: 240; Member since: 17 May 2012)

You're lucky you got your GNex, Apple just put a stop to that here in the States...damn bastards.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:11 3

13. caliber1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)

I don't feel people are on prepay cause their broke. People like myself are tired of paying for overpriced contracts. When I was with Verizon for 15 years, 3 years ago, I was paying over $150 for my family plan. (4 phones) that was with 500 shared mins and texting. No data. With Virgin I have 4 phones and pay $110 and have it all. Some people just don't want to over pay just for a phone. As Virgin keeps coming out with better phones, they are getting harder to beat.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:12

14. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

Surprise, surprise. In a bad economy, a prepaid carrier releases an outdated phone for 650.00. And they wonder why it won't sell??? What a bunch of rocket scientists...

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 13:31 2

16. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

this proves.. the iphone sells because its so subsidized. people dont think its worth 650.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 15:30 1

30. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

How do you explain the iPad?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 16:07 1

33. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the iphone and the ipad inhibit 2 different markets. its a misnomer and a fallacy to think one equates to the other regardless of how completely identical but bigger/smaller they are.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:26

44. hepresearch (unregistered)

The iPhone competes largely with other subsidized mobile devices. It can compete with unsubsidized unlocked or prepaid offerings, but is not likely to do so well as it does against the subsidized offerings. It does help that it gets $100 of extra subsidy by robbing $100 of another smart-device's subsidy while the standard contract subsidy of $350 remains the same for both. Apple's iPhone gets a $450 subsidy, while an Android device gets a $250 subsidy, for a $350 2-year contract valuation either way. They literally rob from Android purchasers to give to Apple iPhone purchasers, and many people either don't know or don't care.

The iPad competes largely with unsubsidized netbook PC's, and with other unsubsidized tablets, of course. Most Apple customers are not interested in personal computing, and so they never need more than an iPad at most... while a few very loyal Apple customers go the extra mile and buy a MacBook Pro for $2,000+.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:59

48. BREvenson (Posts: 240; Member since: 17 May 2012)

Please forgive taco, he is oblivious to the fact that those are two different markets. You see, logic is a foreign concept to him; in his mind, life revolves around Apple, and everything else is insignificant. The tragic shortcoming of the Apple fanboy.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 01:40

53. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Or maybe you have no idea what you're talking about.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 12:01

61. hepresearch (unregistered)

Case in point... you are the living fulfillment of remix's definition of "fallacy". The iPad does not even compete in the same market as the iPhone, goofball!

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:15 2

42. hepresearch (unregistered)

When my sister-in-law busted the back of her new iPhone 4S, she asked me if she could find "another new one online somewhere for $300 or less". I said no. She said she got this one for that much, and asked why she couldn't just get another one somewhere other than AT&T or the Apple Store for the same price. I explained to her that the full retail price of the iPhone 4S 16 GB edition is $649.99. She looked at the broken phone in her hand, gasping in horror, disbelief, and amazement. She had a 32 GB iPhone 4S, which of course costs another $100 more. She went to the "Genius Bar" after that... and they did the repair and replaced the back panel for Apple's going rate. When her phone got the iOS 5.1.1 update, it went nuts and started freezing and shutting down at random... again she went to the "Genius Bar" to pay them to 'fix' it... so much for in-warranty support. She had assumed that the phone was worth what she paid for it in the store, and that she could just replace it on a whim for $300 a pop... she thought that AT&T and all the other carriers she had ever dealt with (also Sprint and T-Mobile) were just playing games with her when they wouldn't let her upgrade a phone at the "new customer price", until I told her the truth about 2-year subsidies.

It's not just the iPhone... most people, in general, have no clue how much phones are really worth. They do not understand the subsidies, often because they just don't care to remember what they are told, or because they think that they can just manipulate reps into giving them what they want on short notice because they have been "such good and loyal customers for sooooooo long." I can't tell you how many times, when I worked at a T-Mobile retail store, people tried to "upgrade" while still not eligible, and even after having it explained to them, they were so beside themselves that we did not have a "free" phone for them right then and there.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 01:43

55. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Apple doesn't charge for in warranty help or replacements

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 01:46

57. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

You mean the warranty that lasts 90 f**king days?

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 11:53

59. hepresearch (unregistered)

When the back panel broke, she had to prove to them that she didn't drop the thing... and since most people have no way to prove that they didn't drop the thing, she ended up paying for the repair out-of-pocket. I am pretty sure it busted because she had a habit of sitting on it in her back pocket, so it is just as well that she paid out-of-pocket to have that one repaired. With the software update, however, she was informed by the "Genius Bar" people that she had messed the phone up somehow. She told them that was BS, and that she had not done anything out of the ordinary with her phone at any time before or since the update. She protested their determination, saying that it did it when the software update came through, but again all blame was placed on her... again, she paid out-of-pocket to have Apple fix their own internal software bug issue... just because they could make that determination with full confidence that she could never figure out a way to prove her own innocence. They gave her the phone back only after she agreed to pay up. If that is what you call "warranty help or replacements", then good luck to ya...

posted on 04 Jul 2012, 15:39 1

62. deathyyy (Posts: 101; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

People don't think ANY phone is worth 650. I work as a rep for a cell company, and people assume their "free" phone is actually free all the time, not that it's a 200ish dollar device. Ask someone if they're willing to pay 550 for their GS III... Most people will scoff at ever paying more than 200$ for any phone on any carrier.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:11 1

19. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1236; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)

People go to Virgin Mobile because A) they don't have a lot of money or B) they don't want to spend a lot of money. So how could a $600 phone possibly bring in more customers?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 17:50 2

39. hepresearch (unregistered)

Offering the iPhone 4S on Virgin will not sell too many iPhones, but it will do a lot for their customer base... "We're the prepaid carrier who offers the iPhone!"... people will come to Virgin Mobile in droves just because they OFFER the iPhone, and end up buying something else from them instead, like the HTC Evo V at less than half of the price. This move is to draw more prospective customers, not to sell tons of iPhones. As taco or gallito might say, this move is a ploy designed to get more of those poor broke "dump peoples" they like to talk about, like me, who can't afford an iPhone even if they wanted one, to go to prepaid services...

Yeah, Apple "elites" like taco and gallito look at people like me and laugh...

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 19:54

51. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Like the HTC one V. Which they practically burred under hyping up the iPhone....

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:12 1

21. Ravail (Posts: 182; Member since: 14 Oct 2011)

I don't look down at pre-paid service. BUT, i would rather (and do) pay for post-paid service such as AT&T and Verizon. The service is all around better. I have friends who have Boost Mobile and their service is garbage.. Yes.. you do pay more, however, im a firm believer in the saying "You get what you pay for".

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 19:05 1

49. BREvenson (Posts: 240; Member since: 17 May 2012)

Results may vary on that one...I've dealt with plenty of people who are satisfied with their data speeds and overall performance of the prepaid networks. Virgin, Boost, Verizon, T-Mobile, even Net10 and Tracfone get props from those using them, whether it's basic talk and text or extended data usage with smartphones. Of course, postpaid networks will be more reliable and faster, but in this day and age, people usually want what they know they're going to need. If it takes them a little while longer to load a video on Youtube, or to download the latest update to Instagram or whatever, it's not a big deal...because it still fits the idea of what they want.

That is just my experience, but again, results may vary.

posted on 04 Jul 2012, 15:41 1

63. deathyyy (Posts: 101; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

In this case I'd assume he's referring only partially to speed/call quality/etc with the network and as much to the company itself- Talk badly about customer service from any non-pre paid carrier, but with Boost/Virgin/etc you get a website and a phone number and that's it. Need tech help? Call. Can't fix it over the phone? We don't really care. That's why I switched off Boost 4 years ago.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:20

23. Danalvi1981 (Posts: 49; Member since: 02 Jun 2010)

i bet there will be little kids at the end of the summer that will spend there summer earnings on this phone!

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 17:27

37. residualhatred (Posts: 25; Member since: 28 May 2012)

If you frequent the virgin mobile wall on facebook, you swear everyone and their grandma was going to get themselve an iphone this weekend. But I am a skeptic. Its not easy coming up with $650 plus the cost of insurance. Like some of you said, the iPhone 5 is coming out this fall, why spend all that money on the 4S now when it might go down in price later on. I have been with Virgin Mobile since 2008. I have never had any service issues. Sure the customer service is less than satisfactory, but Ive had poor customer with both T-mobile and Verizon. I would rather pay for the phone full price up front and not have to worry about having to keep it for 2 years. As we all can see, technology changes rapidly. Think about what kind of phone you had 2 years ago. Its old compared to some of the devices today. Plus I can't afford to pay over $100 on a monthly basis for service. I have other bills and I have to be smart about my money.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 19:52 1

50. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Jesus, it's been a week. Im not saying anyone wants to pay 650$, but come on who expected lines!? It's a prepaid phone, they only have a number of stores, and the advertising was near zero. I mean come on, it didn't fail, the real test is to see how many it sells in the next couple of months. If you look at the reviews on Virgin's site half of them are Virgin customers saying it's to expensive, drop the price to 450$ and 350$ and it will fly off the shelves regardless of whether it's a "outdated" phone.

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