When AT&T reported last month that their iPhone activations only grew by 3% compared to the last quarter, a few analysts were scratching their heads at first but decided people probably weren’t buying as many new iPhones because of iPhone 5 rumors.
But what if there was a more sinister hand at play in the slumping iPhone sales? According to a new report, that’s exactly what’s happening as AT&T Regional Retail Sales Managers have instructed store managers to stop trying to sell the iPhone.
BGR claims they’ve heard from multiple sources that AT&T wants to slow the iPhone’s growth. It’d be reckless for AT&T to just remove the iPhone 4 and 4S from their stores altogether, so their current strategy is that when a customer comes in wanting to buy an iPhone, AT&T’s sales reps are supposed to make a strong pitch and convince them to buy an Android or Windows Phone.
AT&T tells their employees that they should help customers “make an informed decision,” which sounds like a nice objective way to help people figure out which phone would be best for them, but AT&T is no longer permitting staff to buy an iPhone as their company-owned device.
It’s an odd move by AT&T because some claim that at one point the iPhone made up as much as 80% of a store’s sales. Maybe AT&T has noticed that they’ve become dependent on the iPhone to keep their customer base numbers high and are wanting to steer away from it so they have more freedom and ability to screw customers over with text messaging plans?
Have you experienced something like this at an AT&T store? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Update: Shortly after this article was published AT&T released a statement regarding BGR’s claim, however it is not a total denial of the allegations:
“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.”