Operation Chokehold

What brought AT&T to its knees?

December 28, 2009: 8:38 AM ET

A rash of online fraud in New York may have done what Operation Chokehold couldn't

Source: AT&T Wireless

Why did AT&T Wireless (T) halt online sales of Apple (AAPL) iPhones in New York City the weekend after Christmas? None of the answers AT&T has given so far make much sense.

The new policy was first reported to The Consumerist's Laura Northrup by a reader in Brooklyn. In a blog entry posted Sunday afternoon, Northrup suggested that AT&T had found a novel solution to the city's data congestion problems: it had simply stopped selling iPhones to online customers in the metropolitan area. "The phone is not offered to you," a sales rep told Northrup, "because New York is not ready for the iPhone."

In an update later that day, Northrup posted AT&T Public Relations' inscrutable official statement on the matter: "We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels." That didn't help.

The mystery deepened Sunday evening.


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