AT&T Blacklists NYC iPhone Users


UPDATE: AT&T has apparently reversed its stance and is now selling iPhones online to customers in New York City. The Associated Press is reporting that sales resumed Monday afternoon after having been suspended for the weekend. AT&T has yet to make any kind of comprehensive explanation.

Want an iPhone in 2010? Well, if you live in New York City, you may want to reconsider.

The Consumerist reports that AT&T (Stock Quote: T)is no longer allowing anyone with a New York City zip code to buy the iPhone on their Web site. The reasons so far are still unclear. One customer service representative reportedly told the Consumerist that “New York is not ready for the iPhone” because the city does not “have enough towers to handle the phone.” Meanwhile, another customer service person told CNET that the move was due to “increased fraudulent activity” in the city.

AT&T has since issued a brief but unsatisfying official explanation, saying, “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.” Right. So why’d you modify this one? For the time being, they refuse to elaborate, except to state that the phones will continue to be sold in AT&T stores, just not online.

We reached out to Apple’s (Stock Quote: AAPL) press office for comment, but they are currently out of the office for the holidays. Strangely, though, representatives at several Apple stores in New York City are completely unaware of this policy change.

“Business is proceeding as normal on our end,” said one customer service representative at Apple’s flagship store on 5th Ave and 59th St. “We’ve had no notification from AT&T on this matter.” A representative at the Apple store on 14th street was even more surprised by the news. “As far as we know, they should still be selling it online.”

Perhaps this confusion can just be chalked up to a communication breakdown during the holidays. Still, as some sites have argued, it’s possible that the relationship between Apple and AT&T may be about to get a lot rockier.

Plus, this incident will likely add another dent to AT&T’s public image. As we reported recently, many iPhone users were so fed up with the phone network’s poor service that they actually staged a revolt.

Consumers have already reacted today with a mix of shock and scorn. Heather Lukens responded to the news on Twitter, saying that she agrees with AT&T’s assessment that the iPhone was not meant to be used in New York City. “I now EXPECT my calls to be dropped,” she added on Twitter.

But fros1y may have put it best. “If NYC is not ready for the iPhone, does that mean they'll release me from my contract?” he wrote.

Of course, New York is not the only city with choppy service. San Francisco is also notoriously bad. So the real question is, which city will AT&T blacklist next?


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