AT&T: No iPhone 4 In-Store Sales Until June 29th

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 23, 2010

AT&T is no doubt making a complete mess of the iPhone 4 launch. Barely a week after the carrier was forced to suspend iPhone 4 pre-orders; AT&T has now announced that it won’t start selling the iPhone in its stores till June 29th. Customers who’d planned to camp outside AT&T Mobility’s stores before the sun rises Thursday morning to pick up the new iPhone 4 will certainly not be amused with the timing of this announcement.

So, if you are planning to buy the new iPhone 4 on June 24th, scratch AT&T stores off your list. While a number of customers who pre-ordered the new iPhone have already received the handset, those who didn’t pre-order will need to wait till next Tuesday. As for AT&T, all I can say is that Old habits die hard.

A Press Release from AT&T says that its stores won’t be able to sell new iPhones to customers who haven’t already placed orders for the iPhone 4. It mentions

Retail purchase (no preorder):  AT&T plans to have iPhone 4 inventory – available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last – on June 29 in its retail locations, at www.att.com, and in business sales channels.  As inventory sells out, AT&T will offer the convenient option of purchasing iPhone 4 and having it delivered to a home or business or an AT&T store.  As always, customers will receive an email once their order is placed, and again when it ships.”

I’m a bit worried about the “while supplies last” clause and I won’t be surprised if a number of people miss out on in-store availability on June 29th. With AT&T ruled out, the best chances of buying an iPhone are from RadioShack Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Apple stores. RadioShack has already issued a press release indicating that “Apple’s innovative new iPhone 4 will be available in stores beginning June 24”. I find it mind boggling that while other retailers will still sell the device on Thursday, AT&T wouldn’t have the phone available till next Tuesday.

Clearly, the shortage of iPhone is due to the “unprecedented, overwhelming demand” for iPhone pre-orders. AT&T said it will send a customer an e-mail when the order ships for home or business delivery. Customers who pre-ordered the phone for pick-up in AT&T stores will receive phone calls, informing them about when they can come to get the phone.

The release of iPhone 4 has been bumpy and utterly unprofessional. I’m not sure if it’s the last nail in the coffin for the sore Apple – AT&T relationship. Surely, Steve Jobs & co. will be pissed off with the manner in which AT&T has handled the iPhone 4 launch. What do you think? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on this matter. After all, a superb phone like the iPhone 4 deserves better.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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