Apple and AT&T to expand iPhone distribution after initial launch

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Consumers looking to snag an iPhone when it goes on sale later this month will be limited to Apple and AT&T retail stores, in addition to Apple's online store. The two firms, however, plan to broaden the number of distribution points in the proceeding months.



Speaking to the Associated Press, AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said the limited availability will only be for the initial launch. Later, it will be sold on AT&T's Web site and through other outlets, he said.



AT&T owns 1,800 retail stores that will be carrying the inaugural Apple handset when it goes on sale later this month, in addition to approximately 170 Apple-owned retail stores.



But AT&T also works with thousands of other franchise outlets that carry the AT&T or Cingular name, the AP noted. In all, the No. 1 U.S. wireless has 8,000 franchise outlets and retail carriers.



Cook did not specify how many of those partner locations may begin to carry the iPhone in the months ahead, nor did he reveal a specific timeframe for the expanded distribution.



iPhone is due to go on sale beginning 6:00 p.m. local time on Friday, June 29.
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Comments

  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,304member
    oooh hoo not long now
  • bobrkbobrk Posts: 36member
    Anybody have any idea how they're going to treat current subscribers? I haven't seen a thing about it yet.
  • mrjoec123mrjoec123 Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobrk View Post


    Anybody have any idea how they're going to treat current subscribers? I haven't seen a thing about it yet.



    They're being really quiet about service costs, and how they will handle current vs. new subscribers. A bit scary this late in the game.



    It makes sense that they're limiting distribution to just AT&T-owned and Apple stores initially. They have to draw the line somewhere to ensure there's enough phones to go around at each location.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    They're being really quiet about service costs, and how they will handle current vs. new subscribers. A bit scary this late in the game.



    It makes sense that they're limiting distribution to just AT&T-owned and Apple stores initially. They have to draw the line somewhere to ensure there's enough phones to go around at each location.



    I choose to be optimistic about this-- they're remaining mum about rates and plans for the same reason Apple keeps revisions under its hat: to keep sales of current offerings from drying up in the interim.



    It's not a complete stretch to imagine that one of the things Apple negotiated with AT&T are special rates and plans for the iPhone, as part of the general intent of making a mobile information/communications device like the iPhone a mass market (consumer) item instead of a niche (business) player. Attractive rates would go a long way to assuaging price-point sales resistance

    .

    Even $20 off the going monthly rate, after a year, would amount to the "subsidy" of other high end phones, and it just gets better thereafter.



    Of course, that's the very thing that makes this scenario less likely-- the carriers know that the phones are just the crack pipe, and the money is in moving the rock. Sure, we can make you a great deal on that pipe!



    If Steve actually managed to get some movement out of AT&T on this front, it will mean the RDF has swollen to world destroying proportions.
  • louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobrk View Post


    Anybody have any idea how they're going to treat current subscribers? I haven't seen a thing about it yet.



    I would think the same way apple treats it loyal customers. Oh, wait, you were hoping for good news, huh?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I choose to be optimistic about this-- they're remaining mum about rates and plans for the same reason Apple keeps revisions under its hat: to keep sales of current offerings from drying up in the interim.



    It's not a complete stretch to imagine that one of the things Apple negotiated with AT&T are special rates and plans for the iPhone, as part of the general intent of making a mobile information/communications device like the iPhone a mass market (consumer) item instead of a niche (business) player. Attractive rates would go a long way to assuaging price-point sales resistance

    ...

    Of course, that's the very thing that makes this scenario less likely-- the carriers know that the phones are just the crack pipe, and the money is in moving the rock. Sure, we can make you a great deal on that pipe!



    Keeping the lid on it doesn't wash. The lid's been removed long ago. Anyone even remotely interested knows it exists and are waiting impatiently for it. I don't think people are going "Well, I don't know how much the monthly fee is going to be, so rather then wait a month, I'm going to get suckered into another phone instead"



    And it isn't a stretch to think Apple got a special pricing deal. However, it is a stretch to think it would be a 'lower' price. AT&T isn't going to want to go cheaper, when they have to foot some cash to apple to boot. Everyone keeps thinking Apple is some altruistic company looking out for their customers. That's a joke. They're a corporation looking at the bottom line. And one thing they've got their eyes on is, in your analogy, getting a piece of that crack dealer's take. You work together, offer something the public wants (better rock!), and keep the prices high!
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    First, my keeping it under raps thing was about the possibility of special rates for the iPhone dinging sales of other phones, with other rates, before they have a phone to sell. The rate's the thing, not the phone itself.



    But more generally, the iPhone is a new platform for Apple. And it is a platform that is utterly reliant on ubiquitous connections to actually do what it was designed to do.



    So it certainly is in Apple's (greedy) best interests to try and make sure that people actually use it as designed-- and that means bandwidth. Ideally, relatively cheap, flat-rate bandwidth.



    If the iPhone is expensive to buy and (relatively) expensive to operate, it will negatively impact uptake of the platform.



    Thus, anything Apple can do (and I'm not saying they have done this) to keep the TCOO down is all to the better, from their perspective.



    Naturally, that is exactly the opposite of AT&T's perspective, so I would deem it a long shot, at best. But I don't think it's totally out of the question.... after all, "reinventing the cell phone" is as much about how the service is structured as the phone itself.
  • os11os11 Posts: 30member
    you gotta buy the data plan $39.99 a month

    you gotta buy the minutes plan $39.99 a month



    THEN you get the cell phone... remember it's NOT an iPhone, it's a CELL PHONE.



    so it's basically a $499 phone with a $959 "fee" per year attached. even if you don't use it on AT&T's network.



    so it's bad news unless they fix that before June 29th.



  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OS11 View Post


    you gotta buy the data plan $39.99 a month

    you gotta buy the minutes plan $39.99 a month



    THEN you get the cell phone... remember it's NOT an iPhone, it's a CELL PHONE.



    so it's basically a $499 phone with a $959 "fee" per year attached. even if you don't use it on AT&T's network.



    so it's bad news unless they fix that before June 29th.







    Are those the current AT&T rates? How much talk time for that, and is the data unlimited? My thinking is that if there is any way Apple could have negotiated a combo deal for something like $60/month, that would be the sweet spot.



    The question is, could AT&T have been persuaded that giving up that $240/yr per subscriber would be offset by a big increase in users? Because I would assume that would be the pitch: "We're going to do to cell phones what we did to MP3 players, if you want to get in on the ground floor of that action we'll need some concessions....."
  • os11os11 Posts: 30member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Are those the current AT&T rates? How much talk time for that, and is the data unlimited?



    got the preso last night.. i think that is for 900 "rolling" minutes... and unlimited data... not sure about text...



    but all total, it's a rip off... it should be free minutes via Skype, unlimited data within range of 802.11 and free text.



    how AT&T can charge for "free" services that are "free" on the internet is going to be a hard sell when they meet the "computer world".
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OS11 View Post


    got the preso last night.. i think that is for 900 "rolling" minutes... and unlimited data... not sure about text...



    but all total, it's a rip off... it should be free minutes via Skype, unlimited data within range of 802.11 and free text.



    how AT&T can charge for "free" services that are "free" on the internet is going to be a hard sell when they meet the "computer world".



    Wait, are you saying that those are the actual rates that will be offered with the iPhone?
  • aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,551member
    I went by my local Cingular store, I can't believe I was in it with the coverage being so bad here compared to Verizon. Anyway, they told me that they thought the launch was at 9 am that morning until I told them about the 6 pm thing. They were shocked and dismayed because that meant a long night evidently. Then, she told me they had a prewait list and AT&T called and told them to shred it and stop it. She said come early because they have had person after person call and come in asking about getting on a waiting list.



    She did say they were told that they would be doing "New Activations" only for the initial launch but they expected that would change but did not know when.



    I shall be there early...
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    I went by my local Cingular store, I can't believe I was in it with the coverage being so bad here compared to Verizon. Anyway, they told me that they thought the launch was at 9 am that morning until I told them about the 6 pm thing. They were shocked and dismayed because that meant a long night evidently. Then, she told me they had a prewait list and AT&T called and told them to shred it and stop it. She said come early because they have had person after person call and come in asking about getting on a waiting list.



    She did say they were told that they would be doing "New Activations" only for the initial launch but they expected that would change but did not know when.



    I shall be there early...



    Gotta say, the anecdotal tales of how clueless the AT&T sales and support people seem to be is not encouraging.....
  • 19841984 Posts: 955member
    I'll bet they will be offering a set of iPhone specific combined plans. Let's not forget that one of the things that makes this Apple/AT&T collaboration unique is the fact that Apple will get a cut of each contract. The commercials already stated a 2-year contract would be required. That was removed from later airings of the commercials but only to avoid scaring off potential customers in my opinion.
  • jcatma61jcatma61 Posts: 37member
    Not so unusual. Even with all the means available, it's hard to communicate effectively to 1,800 nationwide retail locations that are also trying to do business 70-80 hours/week.



    All these stores are accustomed to this really dumb cookie-cutter model for their business, too. I can understand how they're effing this up. The cell phone industry has not changed their way of doing business since...



    They've always done things one way.
  • jcatma61jcatma61 Posts: 37member
    Oh, yes. As for Steve Baldmer and his "most expensive unsubsidized phone..." crap. Try replacing a phone on your business plan before it's time for your "loyalty discount."



    You pay full freight. Like $749 full freight for a Treo. $449 for a Moto Q.



    Apple shaking up the cell phone industry will be the best thing the industry has ever seen.



    And consumers will win again.
  • titoctitoc Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Gotta say, the anecdotal tales of how clueless the AT&T sales and support people seem to be is not encouraging.....



    Everytime I ask one of those morons something, their response just gets more pathetic. I had a guy at a Cingular store tell me that if I had a .Mac account, that I could Pre-order it from Apple. I replied "Uh . . . I don't think so" and he said, " . . actually, I should know sir, I work here." To which I said "That's what worries me!"
  • titoctitoc Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Consumers looking to snag an iPhone when it goes on sale later this month will be limited to Apple and AT&T retail stores, in addition to Apple's online store.



    I thought that it was reported that the iPhone would NOT be sold on Apple's online store? At least not for the initial launch. But not according to this statement. Everywhere I have read (including here on Appleinsider) states that the phone will ONLY be sold at the physical AT&T and Apple stores. Can anyone else confirm this, or am I forgeting or not getting something here?
  • solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TitoC View Post


    I thought that it was reported that the iPhone would NOT be sold on Apple's online store? At least not for the initial launch. But not according to this statement. Everywhere I have read (including here on Appleinsider) states that the phone will ONLY be sold at the physical AT&T and Apple stores. Can anyone else confirm this, or am I forgeting or not getting something here?





    Everything I've read so far says that it WILL be available on Apple's online store as well as retail outlets.
  • solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    My thinking is that if there is any way Apple could have negotiated a combo deal for something like $60/month, that would be the sweet spot.



    $60 seems like extremely optimistic thinking... I'm guessing an unlimited voice and data plan for $99.
  • ajhillajhill Posts: 81member
    Okay here's my price range, Voice-Unlimited night/weekend 1000 minute voice, unlimited data for....



    $69/month.



    Why that price? Simply to come in lower than any other smart phone, and remove any worry about plan pricing.



    Why am I so sure it will come in on the lower side of these plans??? Simple because Verizon turned down Apple's "demands" and that's a price that would definitely be a demand, especially when Apple get $3-4 back per month.



    That's it $69/month.



    Place your bets.
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