AT&T Said to Push Staff to Sell Non-iPhone Smartphones - AT&T Denies it
According to a report released earlier in the day by BGR
, AT&T’s sales managers were reportedly been pushing the company’s retail store to steer iPhone buyers to alternative smartphones running on the Android platform or the Windows Phone platform. AT&T denied the case upon hearing about it.
Based on the report, AT&T has said to be routinely “instructing store managers to pump the brakes on Apple’s iPhone,” specifically “handing down instructions that 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.” The site says that it “confirmed the directive with three independent sources” and it should be noted that BGR
has proven to be a reliable source for news related to carriers and phone retailers, despite having a spotty record about future product launches.
The wireless carrier responded to the report denying the accusations, stating that “the idea that we would steer any customer away from the particular device couldn’t be more farfetched. The company added “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.” At the same time, it should be noted that AT&T began publicly promoting modern Android devices after it lost its exclusive relationship to carry Apple’s iPhone in the U.S. last year. The company even announced a partnership with Nokia to promote the Windows Phone 7 Lumia this past spring (a deal which caused the carrier to lose out on $150 million.
Apple’s iPhone currently accounts for 72% of the new smartphones activated by AT&T but BGR
noted that internal sales figures from AT&T retail sources did decline among the carrier’s own outlets from a high 80% down to sales “between 50% and 60% since regional managers instructed stores to actively push other smartphones in place of the iPhone.” It’s a bit strange as to why a wireless carrier would want to do that and it isn’t a surprise for them to outright deny the allegations.