AT&T Girds For iPhone Launch on June 29

AT&T girds for iPhone launch on June 29 By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY

For consumers eager to get their hands on an Apple iPhone, here's the good news: It will be available in all 1,800 AT&T phone stores at 6 p.m. sharp on June 29.

The bad news? "We fully expect one or more of our stores to run out of stock on the first or second day -- my guess is the first day," says Larry Carter, senior vice president of sales for AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive U.S. distributor.

To help accommodate as much foot traffic as possible, AT&T phone stores will stay open an extra hour -- until 10 p.m. -- on the first day.

To get "iReady" for the big day, Carter says AT&T added 2,000 extra sales people to stores. Half will be there just to help handle the expected early crush of buyers. The other half, he says, will stay long-term to help with extra customers the iPhone is expected to draw to AT&T's stores.

Crowd control on launch day is a concern. In some markets -- Carter declined to name them -- AT&T is working with local law enforcement on crowd-control plans. It also has alerted landlords at shopping malls and other phone store locations to make sure nobody is caught off guard.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: So, this is the start of iPhone launch countdown week. I am sure the Digest will be bombarded all this next week with glorious messages from AT&T discussing this 'wonderful' new device. In fact, the first half-dozen or so messages in today's issue talk about the wonders of iPhone. But what _I_ suspect will occur, and this is just IMO, and what we will actually see, is the way John Mayson describes it in the last message in this series today. Maybe I should have moved it over to the final space as a 'Last Laugh!' message ... PAT]

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Monty Solomon
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