AT&T Customer Service: "New York City Is Not Ready For The iPhone"

AT&T has apparently found a workable solution to the reported data congestion in New York City. They’ve quietly stopped selling the iPhone from their web site to customers in the New York metropolitan area.

I guess that’s one way to solve the problem.

Reader Stephen in Brooklyn made the discovery while shopping for a new phone today.

I was on the AT&T Wireless website trying to get an iPhone. However, when I put in my zip code 11231, the site says the iPhone is unavailable. This seemed a little odd so I started punching in other famous zip codes: 90210, 60609 (spiegel catalog), 02134 (zoom, an old children’s show).

For theses cities, LA, Chicago, Boston, iPhone is available. Then I looked up some other zip codes: Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco. All those cities are ok. Then I started putting in more NYC zip codes: midtown, Staten Island, the Bronx…no iPhone available.

This is weird…AT&T has cut off New York City.

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. Was it a web site bug? I hopped online with a customer service chat rep to check.

Daphne: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support. How may I assist you with placing your order today?

Laura: Hi, I was looking at the iPhone 3Gs and the system tells me that I cannot order one in my ZIP code. My zip code is 11231. (Brooklyn, NY) Is this true? Are iPhones no longer available in New York City?

Daphne: I am happy to be helping you today . Yes, this is correct the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone.

Daphne: You don’t have enough towers to handle the phone.

Laura: Thank you for your help. So the phone is not available to people anywhere in the city?

Daphne: Yes this is correct Laura.

The iPhone is still available in Apple ant AT&T stores in and around New York CIty. Just not online. Why?

Update 1: In a written statement, AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook told Consumerist that “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.” We have requested additional details, and will add them when and if they become available.

Update 2 (12/28/09): New York customers are now able to order iPhones via AT&T’s Web site. It would appear that the company has once more modified its “promotions and distribution channels.” We’ve requested a statement from AT&T, and will update this post it if and when we receive it.

Is the iPhone available for sale where you live, online or in stores? Let us know in the comments, or e-mail tips@consumerist.com.

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