You could make the argument that AT&T might not hold nearly as much of the US mobile market if it weren’t for striking a deal with Apple that made them the exclusive launch partner of the iPhone. That exclusivity remained for years, causing other carriers to kick themselves for missing out on a golden opportunity. The iPhone has become such a hot ticket item that Sprint reportedly paid an exorbitant amount of cash to Apple simply for the right to stock the latest iteration of the handset. So why, then, is word trickling down from AT&T’s corporate offices to the retail level to steer customers away from purchasing an iPhone, even if they enter the store with their mind already set on the device?
That’s the word coming from BGR, where a report cites multiple sources working in AT&T’s retail stores as saying they have received direct orders to push customers towards Android (and even Windows Phone) devices. The reasoning behind the directive isn’t clear, as the iPhone has made up the bulk of AT&T’s phone sales over the past several years. It could be the impending launch of the iPhone 5 (or whatever it may end up being called). It could be in an effort to show a lack of favoritism towards Apple’s product.
AT&T has yet to comment, and we doubt they will provide any straight answers on the matter. Maybe it has everything to do with the fact that AT&T does offer several of the top Android devices currently on the market, and insisting that a customer pick up an HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S3 instead of an iPhone could actually be seen as doing them a service.