AT&T halts online iPhone sales to New York City residents

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's exclusive U.S. iPhone wireless provider AT&T began halting online sales of the touch-screen device to residents of New York City and its surrounding areas this past weekend but has been unable to provide a reasonable explanation as to why.



The matter was first brought to light by the Consumerist after one of its readers attempted to placed an iPhone order through AT&T's website for delivery to a Brooklyn, New York address and received a message saying "this Package is not available in your area."



Further checks revealed the Apple handset is currently unavailable for purchase through the carrier's website to consumers living anywhere in New York City, or in any of the suburban zip codes in Westchester County or northern New Jersey.



When questioned about the situation Sunday, an AT&T online customer service representative by the name of Daphne told journalist Laura Northrup that the iPhone is no longer being offered to customers in those areas "because New York is not ready for the iPhone."



"[Your area doesn't] have enough towers to handle the phone," she added.



Since then, AT&T has been scrambling to disseminate alternative explanations for the sales blackout, but the reasons offered are leaving customers and industry-watchers with more questions than answers.



AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook fired off an email response to several publications in which he said that "We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels," but refused to provide further details.



Meanwhile, online support rep Daphne also change her tune, later telling both the New York Times and All Things D that the blackout is “due to increased fraudulent activity" in New York City and the surrounding areas. She suggested customers visit a brick-and-mortar Apple or AT&T retail store, where the phone is still available for sale to city residents.



The peculiar move can be seen as the latest chapter in an ongoing public relations fiasco for the No. 2 US wireless provider that stems from perceived shortcomings in its nationwide wireless network.



In recent months, the Dallas-based firm has come under fire from customers and larger rival Verizon Wireless, who've combined to charge the carrier in a series of lawsuits and television spots with making false promises regarding the capacity and reach of its mobile 3G network.



Surprised and unable to keep up with the sheer popularity of the iPhone, AT&T has flirted with the idea of introducing tiered data plans that charge bandwidth-gorging customers more, all while pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into upgrades to its 3G networks in areas of the country hit hardest by the influx in mobile activity.



For example, the carrier said it will have added 1,900 new cell sites in the San Francisco Bay area by the start of the new year as part of a $65 million investment in its regional coverage there. Like in New York, AT&T's San Francisco 3G network has come under considerable strain from iPhone-wielding consumers, but as of Monday morning the carrier had not halted online sales of the device to local residents as it did in New York.



Generally speaking, the iPhone is believed to be largely responsible for a fourfold increase in traffic on AT&T's wireless 3G network over the past 12 months. Earlier this month, the carrier called on customers to help report problematic or overly-congested areas of its network through a free iPhone app it commissioned called "AT&T Mark the Spot."



By the end of this year, year AT&T said it will have invested between $17 billion and $18 billion in its wired and wireless networks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    I love the new commercial where AT&T brags and says their network beats Verizon because they have available over 100,000 apps.



    AS IF???????
  • Reply 2 of 73
    This is despite the fact that every time that I visit this site, I see ads for AT&T's great NYC coverage in three different places. Irony.
  • Reply 3 of 73
    Do you think apple would like to rethink their choice of carrier? AT&T has got to be the worst. So apple what do you do for a network for the tablet? AT&T. You have got to be kidding me !!!!
  • Reply 4 of 73
    So when is the next Verizon ad??
  • Reply 5 of 73
    Unbelievable.
  • Reply 6 of 73
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    When questioned about the situation Sunday, an AT&T online customer service representative by the name of Daphne told journalist Laura Northrup that the iPhone is no longer being offered to customers in those areas "because New York is not ready for the iPhone."



    You can't handle the iPhone. You'll wreck it.
  • Reply 7 of 73
    Big deal.



    I'm sure it's not that hard for Manhattanites to visit one of the FOUR Apple stores on the island!
  • Reply 8 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post


    Big deal.



    I'm sure it's not that hard for Manhattanites to visit one of the FOUR Apple stores on the island!



    I agree.... Wah Wah..... There is not one Apple Store within 5 hours of driving for me and NYC'ers whine about this one.... Give me a HUGE break!
  • Reply 9 of 73
    a device for the Verizon network? I can't believe they would give it to ATT.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I?ve been calling for this for a long time but now they need to extend it to the B&M stores. If you can?t handle current data loads then stop selling phones in an area that tend to use excessive data until you can get your network issues resolved. Consumers won?t be happy and you?ll loose some sales but you?ll also create a demand and will at least let current and future customers know that you do care about their QoS. There are physical limits here which people should understand and increasing data usage by 5000% in 2 years should be easily digestible by all but the most ignorant. Too bad it too little and too late. \





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wfrank View Post


    Do you think apple would like to rethink their choice of carrier? AT&T has got to be the worst. So apple what do you do for a network for the tablet? AT&T. You have got to be kidding me !!!!



    It?s likely that no US carrier could have handled the load. Hell, even Verizon has stated they?re beefing up their network in case they get the iPhone. It could just be a marketing ploy to one up AT&T without actually doing anything but on the other hand it could be that even they realize the iPhone?s excessive data would affect them adversely, too.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    If Verizon had the iPhone...the wifi would be locked down, you'd have to pay a monthly fee just to access the app store, you'd have to pay a monthly fee just to use the google maps app, and the data plan would cost more per month. And logically, if Verizon had the popularity of the iphone on their network, they'd be experiencing the same or worse strains on their network that AT&T is. They obviously can advertise better coverage/etc because their network doesn't have the strain of iphone subscribers on it. It would be nice if Apple made a 'world' iphone that carries both chips (GSM & CDMA) because it would spread out the users across both networks, thereby alleviating strain on just one network. But again....then you'll run into users being pissed that Verizon wants to have their hands in every aspect of the phones capabilities.
  • Reply 12 of 73
    Sounds to me like this was done on purpose to get people into Apple Stores during the holidays.





    Sort of like having only the 17" MacBook Pro in matte screen finish, and not the more popular 15".



    Then when people complained, Apple offered the 15" in matte finish too only to later change again and have it available only for the high end 15".



    Games, games, games.
  • Reply 13 of 73
    Hehe . . . just goes to show how progressive Apple was in their thinking. Waaay ahead of the carriers.
  • Reply 14 of 73
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mickeymantle View Post


    a device for the Verizon network? I can't believe they would give it to ATT.



    I seriously doubt they would make the tablet exclusive to Verizon. That would be a big F/U to all the iPhone subscribers, essentially forcing them to have dual carriers if they want to have the tablet. Truth is, I'm not even convinced that the tablet will have 3G capability, probably just Wi-Fi. At 10", it may be "portable", but nowhere near as portable as the iPhone.
  • Reply 15 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jcg878 View Post


    This is despite the fact that every time that I visit this site, I see ads for AT&T's great NYC coverage in three different places. Irony.



    With the tablet release coming these excuses about coverage or fraudulent activity are probably just lame statements made up to hide changes coming related to the tablet. I'm sure Apple has their tongue well tied so they are pretty much just stuck making up things as they go along since they can't talk about the real reasons they are making changes.



    That's my guess though, could really just be that they had to back down to give their NYC network some breathing room.
  • Reply 16 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by siriusvector View Post


    So when is the next Verizon ad??



    There's a 'state' for that! New York State!!
  • Reply 17 of 73
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    I bet Daphne is popular in the AT & T canteen today! LOL
  • Reply 18 of 73
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    Maybe the iSlate, when unable to use Wi-Fi, tethers to an iPhone for 3G ... ??? just a wild off the wall comment with no basis whatsoever to be taken seriously
  • Reply 19 of 73


    deleted

  • Reply 20 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post


    Big deal.



    I'm sure it's not that hard for Manhattanites to visit one of the FOUR Apple stores on the island!



    I agree. Certainly, there is someone that lives there that could check it out before everybody gets their arse in an uproar.



    Oops. Or is it my error assuming that the folks who complain the most about AT&T/NY/iPhone use AT&T, domacile in New York city and own an iPhone?
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