The management over at AT&T seem to be back to playing the iPhone shell game again in New York – first you see it, then you don’t. Without notice, AT&T stopped selling iPhones online if you live within a NYC zip code.
Earlier this month, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega admitted that coverage levels in both NYC and San Francisco are “performing below our standards”. Great timing, Mr. de le Vega – since AT&T launched the iPhone in NYC almost three years ago.
Oddly, the move wasn’t announced through a press release, media conference, or part of a long-range strategic plan. Apparently, AT&T senior management quietly told their customer service reps to stop selling the iPhone in NYC.
The discovery was made by a Consumerist reader who explains:
“I was on the AT&T Wireless website trying to get an iPhone. However, when I put in my zip code 11231, the site says the iPhone is unavailable. This seemed a little odd so I started punching in other famous zip codes: 90210, 60609 (spiegel catalog), 02134 (zoom, an old children’s show). For theses cities, LA, Chicago, Boston, iPhone is available. Then I looked up some other zip codes: Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco. All those cities are ok. Then I started putting in more NYC zip codes: midtown, Staten Island, the Bronx…no iPhone available.”
Later, Consumerist writer Laura Northrup was told that iPhone is not longer available for online sale because “New York is Not Ready for The iPhone.”
Oddly, AT&T retail stores in NYC are reportedly still selling iPhones and are unaware of the shortage of cell towers.
Here’s the full online conversation between the AT&T representative and Laura Northrup:
Daphne: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support. How may I assist you with placing your order today?
Laura: Hi, I was looking at the iPhone 3Gs and the system tells me that I cannot order one in my ZIP code. My zip code is 11231. (Brooklyn, NY) Is this true? Are iPhones no longer available in New York City?
Daphne: I am happy to be helping you today . Yes, this is correct the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone.
Daphne: You don’t have enough towers to handle the phone.
Laura: Thank you for your help. So the phone is not available to people anywhere in the city?
Daphne: Yes this is correct Laura.
Because this appears to be a one-off decision, and given AT&T’s CEO remarks about coverage in NYC and San Francisco, it seems likely San Francisco will be next on the chopping block. What do you think?
LA Business Tech ExaminerMike Albee