Apple’s iPhone accounted for 73% of AT&T’s smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2012, but it looks like it could have been even more as BGR reports that AT&T’s regional sales managers are instructing store managers to sell anything but the iPhone.
BGR has exclusively learned that this is not entirely the case, however, and the stalled iPhone sales at the nation’s No.2 wireless carrier may in fact be by design.
Regional retail sales managers at AT&T have been instructing store managers to pump the brakes on Apple’s iPhone. Instructions handed down from corporate state that customers seeking smartphones at AT&T retail stores should be steered away from Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and towards Android phones or Windows Phone handsets like the Nokia Lumia 900 instead. BGR has confirmed the directive with three independent sources.
Even when customers come into stores specifically looking for the iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, staffers have been instructed to make an effort to show people Android and Windows Phone devices as well, so they can “make an informed decision.” In addition, AT&T retail staff in at least some locations are no longer permitted to obtain iPhones as their company-owned devices, and must instead choose an Android smartphone or a Windows Phone.
BGR claims that according to their source, the percentage of iPhone sold in AT&T retail stores has dropped significantly from 80% of the smartphone sales to 5o% to 60% after AT&T’s regional sales managers instructed store managers to steer customers away from the iPhone.
AT&T has denied the report and issued the following statement:
The idea that we would steer any customer away from a particular device couldn’t be more farfetched. Our reps do what it takes to align customer needs with the best device for them. iPhone remains one of our most popular devices, which doesn’t happen by steering people away from it. Our reps are encouraged to try all devices so they are more knowledgeable on our industry-leading smartphone lineup.
It is common knowledge the carriers have to pay a higher subsidy to Apple for the iPhone than they pay for other smartphones, so it could be one of the reasons for promoting other smartphones.
If you’ve experienced this first hand at an AT&T retail store, please let us know in the comments.