AT&T Allegedly Instructs Retail Staff To Sell Anything But The iPhone

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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 reports:

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.

[via BGR]

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  • Att_ZeroKnowledge

    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.” I dont see how that will happen since the ATT staff have next to zero knowledge and couldn’t help anyone make an informed decision.

  • kep

    I realized this when I worked for AT&T a while back. They tell us to try and push for android. They even gave us more commission to sell an android phone then an iPhone Sometimes i even felt bad because I would have to bite my tongue and say that the iPhone was bad and had to many issues and that androids where so much better. Which clearly is the other way around. Had to put money in my paycheck and keep my job one way though.

  • apple

    This is what u when u r successful. Poor Apple 🙁

  • George

    I work for Verizon and the only reason theyre doing this is because the iPhone only gets you 10$ commission for yourself and a lot less for the company. The android phone progress more income for the company and commission.

  • Chris Wade

    Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would go into an AT&T store, in my experience, they are rude, know nothing about the phones they sell and think they know everything.

    Honestly, I think it’s time for the tide to shift to buying phones direct from the manufacturer, especially the iPhone, but also to buy them without a contract.

  • MuscleMass

    I agree. AT&T sucks … all the way around (reception, store reps, etc). Alas, I’m still with AT&T bc of my contract for my iPhone.

  • Wow! This has happened to me also. I didn’t bother me because I knew what I wanted. I just brushed it off as a typical salesman. But this is foul!!!!

  • Jay

    Straight talk baby 45 a month unlimited everything Iphone works with 2-5 mbps

  • mkimid

    Actually, I understand the view of AT&T.
    Because of the best device for Seller and Buyer are not same mostly.
    And, The portion of iPhone is too high also. For the risk management, AT&T should decide that kind of decision also.

  • Keita123

    AT&T has forgotten who raised their profile above everyone else. I remembered this in Chicago way back during the Jordan era. The Bulls couldn’t wait to get rid of Michael. They were even shopping for that player right in Jordan’s face. And we all know what happened after that…