WATERLOO, Ont. -- Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB) rose more than eight per cent on Wednesday after the company announced it sold 1 million of its new smartphones to a mystery buyer.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company said an "established partner" made the purchase, though a spokeswoman for the company said confidentiality reasons prevent it from revealing the identity.

The former Research In Motion said shipments of the phones will start immediately.

Shares moved ahead $1.21 to close at $16.04 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"An order for one million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10," said Rick Costanzo, executive vice president of global sales at BlackBerry.

It's the first time the smartphone maker has revealed concrete sales data for its new devices.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins has said the new BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen phone is selling better than the company expected, while Canadian carrier Bell (TSX:BCE) said last month that preorders broke its previous records for BlackBerry presales.

The phone hit stores in Canada and the United Kingdom in February, with several other international markets following soon after.

Meanwhile, the U.S. rollout of the device continues as another carrier announced when it would carry the new touchscreen devices. Verizon Wireless says it will begin stocking the BlackBerry Z10 on March 28, with preorders starting on Thursday.

A keypad version of the device, dubbed the BlackBerry Q10, is expected this spring though an official date hasn't been announced.

BlackBerry will report its fourth-quarterly earnings on March 28.