The Consumerist reported over the weekend that AT&T has quietly stopped offering online iPhone sales to customers located in the New York City market. Responding to a reader report, The Consumerist verified the extent of the issue:
I went to the AT&T site to verify what Stephen said. Sure enough, the iPhone was available to zip codes in San Francisco and other major cities. It was not available to purchase for people living anywhere in New York City, or any of the suburban zip codes in Westchester County or northern New Jersey that I tried.
There seems to be some confusion, however, over the cause of the move, with a customer service representative initially stating that "New York is not ready for the iPhone" and that it doesn't "have enough towers to handle the phone." Such an explanation, while a bit surprising, was not considered completely illogical, as New York City has been a common source of complaints from consumers regarding network performance, and AT&T has acknowledged that it is looking to improve service there.
Follow-up comments from AT&T, however, have cast doubt on that explanation, with an official response noting only that AT&T may "periodically modify [their] promotions and distribution channels." Other customer support representatives, such as those contacted by Gearlog, have cited "increased fraudulent activity" from the area as the reason for removing online iPhone sales in the region.
Update: CNBC is reporting that AT&T has resumed online iPhone sales in the New York City market, but has not yet offered any additional information on the circumstances surrounding the brief removal.