AT&T tells customers to buy anything except the Apple iPhone?

AT&T tells customers to buy anything except the Apple iPhone?
Anonymous sources who work on the frontline for AT&T say that they are being told to push any phone to customers except the Apple iPhone. This doesn't make sense considering that for years, AT&T had the exclusive rights to sell the device in the States. Once Verizon started selling the Apple iPhone 4 on February 10th of last year, the floodgates opened and now even pre-paid carriers like Cricket offer the iconic smartphone.

The number of Apple iPhone activations at AT&T increased by only 3% in the second quarter and while some figured that this drop off is related to the new model coming out, it also would make sense if the carrier's reps were told to push the HTC One X, which is an AT&T exclusive, as is the Windows Phone powered Nokia Lumia 900. But that model has lost sales momentum and recently had its price sliced in half by AT&T. The word to move customers away from Apple's smartphone purportedly comes from regional sales managers and was relayed to BGR by a trio of sources.

According to the sources, if a customer walks into an AT&T store seeking an Apple iPhone, he is supposed to be shown Android and Windows Phone models with the rep telling the customer that this is being done so that an informed decision can be made. Additionally, AT&T staff are no longer allowed to own an iPhone as their company owned device and must choose an Android or Windows Phone model.

One of the sources said that since the instructions came down from the regional managers like Moses with the tablets (that design pre-dated Apple!), Apple iPhone sales have declined fairly sharply. Once comprising 80% of AT&T smartphone sales in his area, this AT&T time card puncher says that the Apple iPhone now has between a 50% and 60% share of AT&T smartphone sales in the area, which is a substantial decline. To put that number is perspective, 72% of the carrier's smartphone sales throughout the company were iPhone related.

AT&T has sent out an email to BGR that calls the idea that the carrier would steer customers away from a particular device "farfetched." The carrier also said that the Apple iPhone remains one of AT&T's most popular models which it wouldn't be if the operator was steering customers away from it. Since we've been so wrapped up with legalese this week, we might feel more compelled to believe this with a smoking gun like a copy of a memo or an email coming right from the regional managers telling reps not to push the model that was once their bread and butter.

source: BGR

Related phones

iPhone 4s
  • Display 3.5 inches
    960 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    0.3 MP VGA front
  • Hardware Apple A5, 0.5GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • OS iOS 9.x



124. BDW2008

Posts: 25; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

man they need to make them get a samsung galaxy s3 because i have one and the 4s and i that s3 is so good it should be banned for being from the future because the phone and theos is ahead of its time especially ios

121. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

All stores are doing this because apple is outdated and over priced and lies to customers. I work for verizon and we are told to sell the best phone for the customer. We are not told to sell android over apple. If a customer walks in asking for a iphone we ask what about it do you like and then show them phones that do it better. Example A elderly lady came in asking for a iphone i asked what about the iphone makes you want that phone. She said the top answer everyone gives. " because my daughter told me too" That is not a real answer. but i showed her the iphone and she was like that is to small i cant see anything. and whats with all the blocks it looks messy. and double sided glass does sound smart. ALl this from a woman atleast in her mid 60s. so i showed her a razr which she loved. fixed all her problems. She then came back about a week later with her daughter screaming saying we took advatage of an old person. and demanded we should all be fired. Truth is the old lady came back a couple weeks later after the daughter incident and begged to go back to the razr and wrote a written apology for the daughters behavoir and bought us pizza. we told her unfortunaley we can not switch you back to the razr ince it has been almost 2 months and now she is pissed at her daughter who thought she new everything

122. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Sorry my point here is this is why the reps show customers all models when a customers comes in to a store. The customer then makes an educated decision not a decision because the iphone made Zoey look cute in the commercial

111. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

ask them to buy the ion!! 29.99$

107. sojizy

Posts: 26; Member since: Aug 30, 2008

It's not that hard to figure out. ATT, Sprint and Verizon pay all their employees by commission. The iphone is expensive to have on your network. The companies dont make as much of each iphone sold as they would for each droid or blackberry etc. In turn the reps dont make as much commission off of the iphone as they would any other phone. So put yourself in their positions and tell me which phone you would push more... Plus they are trying to get people on their lte network too but thats a side note

99. Gsmalltheway

Posts: 278; Member since: Aug 15, 2009

I am an ATT sales rep and while we are not told to do this but it just happens naturally. Many customers who come in ask jokingly if we have any phones thats "better than the iphone". Whenever they say that i just show them ALL the Android phones that we sell lol...Most customers are surprised when i say that but its basically true. Even the .99 Pantech Burst is better in my opinion. Also when a customer is new to the smartphone family they usually get a Windows Phone because the tiles are bigger and they like the animation better. Most of the time i dont even show them the iphone because is they like the first phones i show them.

96. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I have friends and relatives who work for AT&T and this is not true - what is happening is that reps who have had iphones and then switched to a high end android phone have realized what the better phone is. When the new iphone is released it will sell just fine since America is blind and loves mediocrity - iphones and Tim Tebow have a lot in common with mediocrity.

101. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

hey. leave Tebow out of this!!

91. willard12 unregistered

ATT just wants to sell their inventory of non-iphone products before they get more letters from Apple lawyers telling them that all other devices have been banned.

90. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Pushing the nokia 900 or most android phones increases ATT's bottom line as they dont have to subsidize the product as much as they do with the iphone. Did it happen? Who knows? Could it be happening under the radar? Yea, it definitely could. A few execs with their bonuses tied to over all profits could make the unnoficial call to do such a thing and spread it around quite quickly without a paper trail. Less iphones sold = more profit per line. Sooner or later we will be hearing reports of either Apple bending and reducing their gestapo demands to carriers, or carriers officially pushing other products/ openly slamming apple's practices in America like we've seen recently in Europe and Russia.

97. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

this is true - you cab get an upgrade override easier when you want a non-iphone phone....subsidy costs have increased the upgrade fee.

85. Android1

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

Good news :p

84. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Remember Apple is not in it for the money.

81. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Wishing all carriers boycott or Ban the iPhones in retaliation for Apple vs Samsung trial.

71. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

I think is ATT employees who are doing this.. not ATT.. as we can see around here people that work selling phones for x carrier have openly said that they have discourage people that want the iphone for an Android.. so is the haters that are not happy with the iphone success and dedicate their lives if necessary for Apple to rotten.. but on the other side are claiming they do this because they want to have options which in a normal human being it makes no sense...

94. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Fyi, dug your earlier comment. I'm flattered. :p I do have a reasonable success rate at least getting all but the most rabid fanboys looking at devices other than the iPhone. Which is pretty impressive, considering that I'm in ATT's backyard, where customers only really knew the iPhone for years.

100. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

and is fine Sniggly.. I dont hate Android.. if I see someone like my cousin who likes to play and likes to tweak i will offer Android I have no problem.. i just don understand u guys hate towards Apple... cant believe the you having a good day depends on the sucess of a company.. I hate people who abuses welfare programs but i still live mylife.... I dont go on ever forum and bad mouth that those people...

106. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

You have to understand, Gallito, that for us the success or failure of the companies we root for or against will have large effects on the nature of technology and the world. For instance, Google to us represents a company that wants to realize dreams of a sci fi world. They want to see everyone have access to technology that makes their lives easier and better. For instance, at this point I wouldn't personally be surprised to see Google jump into making equipment or services which make medical practices better or more accessible. I mean, look at Android. Apple made the smartphone desirable, but Android made the smartphone accessible. With Project Glass, Google is aiming to come up with an intuitive way to feed us information we want or need. With Google Fiber, Google is aiming to give people FREE GODDAMN INTERNET FOR SEVEN YEARS, and to offer those who pay only a bit more than they would for other Internet services speeds that boggle American minds. Now you take Apple, which makes products that are pretty and work. Great, their products are popular. However, besides setting up the foundation that modern smartphones worked toward for a while, how else has Apple changed the game since the iPhone's launch? And in fact, Apple betrays an attitude that they don't really give a crap about customers, nor do they care about leaving the market free for competitors. They consistently commit actions which aim to endanger the free market and stifle any company which manages to challenge them. Do you understand better now, Gallito? Do you understand the stakes we see?

114. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

That was beautiful.

118. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

not going to make it long.. but to anwer to you.. if Apple didnt care about customers... why is Apple the only company in mobile services with the HIGHEST CUSTOMER SATISFACTION above 90% to be precise.. and your people's champ Android is floating around 45% satisfaction.. I dont sweet talk.. or have great grammar but I am damm satified customer..

123. Sackboy117

Posts: 178; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

its simple, it works, and it does nothing more than what it was designed to do. Basically, it works one way for everyone or it don't work at all.

69. sum182

Posts: 229; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

This is really just about money, selling an iphone makes them nothing, and others make the a heafty amount. Just business as usual, a little of apple showing in ATNT

66. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Makes perfect sense. iPhone used to bring in customers. Now they have competition for the iPhone crowd. Lower margins on iPhone sales coupled with studies showing higher data consumption by iPhone users=lower profits. Maybe now the playing field is a little more balanced, maybe consumers can truly be helped to find the best device for that individual.

64. Hammerfest

Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

"To put that number is perspective, 72% of the carrier's smartphone sales throughout the company was iPhone related." This last part reads like someone hit you in the back of the head and you wrote it before fully recovering... Just read it a few times... you will see...

59. marchels14 unregistered

my sister wants to buy i phone 4s, i told her are you stupid or what,that is the worst idea ever,in UK it costs 500 pounds,for that money you can get something better like Samsung or Sony phone, they are of thee best phones maker out there, she likes the small screen on it,who likes i like the idea that at&t does that because they are true, you can get something better for same amount of money.

57. tedkord

Posts: 17536; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

This is from BGR report, so take it with a grain of salt. Most likely it's not true, but rather is a made up excuse for why Apple phones continue to slide worldwide in market share. They can't accept that consumers are choosing Android of their own volition, so they have to come up with an explanation. Any time any news comes out with bad numbers for Apple in any way, the BGR machine starts humming to rationalize it.

46. teengoku

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 29, 2012

if they did its probably because the iphone 5 is coming soon

44. Ravail

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 14, 2011

I know iPhones cost carriers lots of cash, but they do have to have it for their customer base.. speaking of the contract that Sprint signed with Apple is just downright retarded.. a 15 billion contract for a company whos net worth is barely over 10 billion? hmm i smell bankruptcy!

65. OSFantasma

Posts: 119; Member since: Sep 27, 2011

yeah sprint was slow in that route but same as always they thought of it as bait, an extemely expensive bait only problem here is we really don't know how much other carriers end up paying for the iPhone. Though i suspect a huge amount...

40. SonyFTW2020

Posts: 311; Member since: May 03, 2012

I think it is only fair that a customer should know that there is more in a store than just the iphone...And if that customer still wants to choose the iphone after seeing that there is also other great phones for BETTER prices, then that will be his/her choice! What's the matter apple fans afraid that android will win over customers because they actually offer better options than apple does?

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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