AT&T Reportedly Limits iPhone Sales To One Per Customer - InformationWeek

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AT&T Reportedly Limits iPhone Sales To One Per Customer

Many believe Apple is reducing inventories before releasing a new version of the smartphone next month.

AT&T, the exclusive iPhone seller outside of Apple in the United States, is reportedly limiting sales of the popular smartphone to one per customer, the latest example of what's believed to be the result of Apple reducing inventories before releasing a new version of the gadget next month.

The telephone company notified its retail department of the limit through an internal memo distributed Wednesday and obtained by the Apple enthusiast site AppleInsider. Before the new rule, customers had been limited to three iPhones apiece.

"Effective May 14, 2008, customers can only purchase one iPhone at AT&T stores," the memo said, according to AppleInsider. "The prior limit of three iPhones is no longer in effect."

In addition, the department in charge of AT&T Wireless stores was told not to accept cash or checks, but only credit and debit cards for iPhone purchases. If sales reps wanted to sell more than one device to a customer, they would have to get approval from a director or general manager.

AT&T was not immediately available for comment.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is scheduled to give a keynote address at company's Worldwide Developers Conference June 9 in San Francisco. Some analysts believe Jobs will unveil the company's new iPhone then.

iPhone shortages have been reported in the United States and the United Kingdom, and Apple is no longer accepting orders through its online store in both regions. The shortages and suspension is believed to be the result of Apple reducing inventories of the current 8-GB and 16-GB phones to make room for the new version, which analysts predict will be capable of processing higher data speeds on carriers' 3G networks. The current iPhones access so-called 2.5G networks, which are far slower than 3G. The latter is closer to wired broadband speeds.

Apple's U.K. wireless partner O2 reportedly ran out of iPhones last week, and is now selling only the high-end version, which has the larger storage capacity.

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