Home > business, personal, smugmug > No iPhones for corporate accounts?!

No iPhones for corporate accounts?!

June 27, 2007

Holy. Crap.

I’m so bummed. We’ve got our sleeping bags ready to go so we can get iPhones for the SmugMuggers. We even have SmugMuggers who flew in from out of town so they could join the party on University Avenue (click that link, it’s worth it). Like most companies, we have a corporate plan with AT&T so we can share minutes, save money, etc etc.

They won’t sell us iPhones. Not one phone, not twenty phones. For any price. At all. Neither will Apple.

Why on earth isn’t anyone covering this? Isn’t this a big deal to anyone but me? Yes, ok, I realize I’m coming across as a fanboy, but I’ve hated my mobile phone for decades now. I think there may finally be one that I don’t hate – only they don’t want to sell me one.


UPDATED 6/28/07 9:15am to answer some questions:

– No, this wasn’t some clueless rep at an AT&T store. I asked our AT&T business account rep, our Apple business account rep (we spent over $500k/year with Apple), and even some Apple VPs. They were very clear – if your account isn’t “personal responsibility” (you pay the bill, your Social is on the account), you’re outta luck.

– No, I’m not hoping to get business discounts on the phone. I’m fine paying full market rate. Heck, I’d even pay more. Just let me buy one for heaven’s sake! Better yet, let me buy them for my team!

Categories: business, personal, smugmug
  1. June 27, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Email Consumerist.

  2. June 27, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    It’s funny that you talk about buying 20 iPhones in the same breath as saving money, sharing minutes, etc. These things aren’t about saving money it’s a ‘premium’ offering and they expect to charge you a premium.

    I’m sure they’ll have a better business offering 8-12 months from now once demand starts to die down.

    Keep up the good work. Smugmug + iPhone integration? =)

  3. June 27, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Are you sure? I just thought that corporate equipment discounts didn’t apply to purchase, not that you couldn’t buy one at all.

    And say hi to your dad for me! 🙂

  4. June 27, 2007 at 11:49 pm


    Two points:

    1 – I’m absolutely fine not receiving my typical corporate discounts on this phone. That’s A-OK with me – I realize it’s a brand-new, hot device. Make me pay what everyone else is paying. (Heck, I’d even pay more). But let me pay!

    2 – iPhone’s aren’t obscenely priced, at least as far as business phones are concerned. We have Treos and SmartPhones and the like all over the business now – $500 phones are typical. So I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘premium’ to businesses that require their employees to be well-connected. It’s priced in the same ballpark as past hot new phones.

    We have a corporate account for a few reasons, the least of which is the (questionable) discounts. These phones are mainly used for business, and required for our staff to carry 24/7, so it’s only fair the business pays for them. Further, it’s much much simpler on our end to get one big bill rather than 25 smaller bills.

    I say questionable above, because I think we actually calculated the business plan as costing us more on each bill, but saving us overall since we only had to worry about, track, and pay a single bill. Your mileage may vary.

  5. June 27, 2007 at 11:50 pm


    Every single AT&T and Apple person I’ve managed to pin down says that only accounts for which a person is responsible (ie, a Social Security number is attached to the account) may enable their phones.

    Which means all corporate plans are outta luck.

    Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong on this one, but our account rep and every other rep I’ve dug out from under a rock agrees: No iPhones for business accounts. 😦

    Will say hi to my dad – how do you know him?

  6. June 28, 2007 at 12:27 am

    @Don – we lived in Mtn View while your dad was Bishop. I was in the scouting program and my wife was in the primary, I think. We only lived there for a year before my contracts took me out to Colorado so we weren’t that close. I also set up a FatBrain custom store for KPMG while I was still working for them in Mtn View, but I really wanted to get a job working for your Dad. 😉

  7. Steve
    June 28, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Hey, if you guys “have Treos and SmartPhones and the like all over the business now”, hasn’t anyone ever tried to access a SmugMug gallery from any of them? Like to show some new pictures to someone you happen to bump into when you’re out and about? I suppose the AJAX pages (and thumbnails) may work on the iPhone (assuming you have the patience to wait for everything to load over EDGE), but on a Treo I the thumbnails don’t appear. Couldn’t you recognize a “mobile” browser making the request and send a simpler page that lets people view their thumbnails and/or larger images? Please?

  8. June 28, 2007 at 1:09 am

    See ya in line tomorrow. We should be there by noon. I just linked to this.

  9. June 28, 2007 at 1:30 am

    By the way, is someone bringing a generator?

  10. June 28, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I wonder if they think this will prevent people from buy and re-selling unlocked iPhones? Or is it just a temporary thing while they expect demand to outstrip supply? Maybe once the hype has died down a little they’ll remove the restriction. Certainly once supply has caught up, this will hurt them.

    As an side, that is a very cool thing to do for your employees. Hopefully something will work out.

  11. Jeff S.
    June 29, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Dump the business plan with Cingular.

    We have Cingular here too and I talked to them about doing the business account but it basically saved ZERO. So I said to them WTF. So ya we have a bunch of different bills come in and pay with seperate checks. I guess that costs a little extra a month but it’s not that big of a deal really. I almost prefer it.

    Or better yet get a Blackberry! Save yourself $400 or so, get a Pearl, then spend the $400 you save on a 8 gig Sansa and a years Rhapsody to Go plan. I can listen to any song they have at home, at work, and on my Sansa.

  12. June 29, 2007 at 7:23 am

    This is an odd policy. Just speculating here, but I’m thinking that they must have a very consumer-oriented registration process that just didn’t consider the requirements of a corporate account. I might be wrong on this but I think the only way that you can register the phone is through iTunes and they probably don’t have it set up for corporate accounts yet.

  13. jordan
    July 3, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I agree- this is bullshit! I waited on line friday for hours to get one and now I had to give back, not knowing they wont activate it on a business account..this is a poor business decison

  14. July 3, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I’ve had a terrible experience getting my iPhone activated (coming from a Corporate account). In one hand AT&T states that iPhones can be added to corporate account if an approved device, in the other you can’t do it.

    My full iPhone history at http://blog.arabx.com.au/?cat=49

  15. Juliet
    July 17, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    My current phone is a corporate account, but wanted an iphone and learned the above. I do not care whether it is corporate or not..I just want the same phone number. They said I would have to get a new phone number…anyone else with the same experience?

  16. September 17, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Bloody ridiculous. I received an iPhone as a prize. Setup was a breeze. BUT, can’t use my SIM card (trip to an AT&T store for one) and I’m on the phone 40 minutes and counting with AT&T to convert a chunk of our company plan to a family plan… same minutes, same cost, only now I can activate an iPhone. As a nice bonus, we lose several thousand rollover minutes as part of the conversion.

    Why Apple didn’t just sell this as an unlocked phone and skip the carrier bureaucracy is mind boggling. This is the most ridiculous set of hurdles yet with AT&T.

  17. September 29, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Astonishing! That word comes to mind after purchasing 3 i-phones from an AT&T company store in Phoenix. The AT&T rep was very helpful in selling the phones changing my service plan to accommodate the i-Phone. I was told to go home and it would be easy to activate the phones. Wrong. The website informed me that my “account” was not available to have an i-phone. Why? Because AT&T and Apple have determined it is in their interest to discriminate against small business. Although I have had a AT&T, then Cingular, now AT&T account for 10 years and stayed with them though serious service problems – they are acting like they don’t know me. They want me to open a new account – a new credit check and give them a deposit. AT&T is very stupid given the overall level of customer dissatisfaction and churn in their business. Good-bye.

  18. Jill
    October 28, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Went to an AT&T store last night to purchase iphone. Was told it would work with my current plan-which happens to be a business plan. After getting home, opening the phone and trying to get it set up, learned it wouldn’t work with a business plan. Now they are trying to make me pay the $40 restock fee. The sales person at the store told me it would work with my current plan. Since she didn’t know the product, I am having to pay for it.

  19. November 24, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Ya, we need to get in touch with apple about this. This is ridiculous. Corporate accounts should be able to get iphone. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. casey
    December 12, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    I just bought an Iphone, and was told nothing about it not working with a business account. Spent 3 hrs with AT&T people on the phone. Apple blames AT&T and AT&T blames Apple. Took the phone back today having to suck up the 10% restock fee.

  21. dave
    December 16, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Did you buy the iPhone with a credit card? If so you will not have to eat the restocking fee, just tell the credit card company that the vendor misrepresented the product/service and you are returning it. Apple and ATT should be held accountable for their misrepresentation of products. This is the “supposed value” the credit industry affords us. For all the fees they charge we should get some benefit from it. You will win the dispute, I did with Chase Visa and then the entire amount will be credited.

  22. george
    December 30, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I went to the Apple Store in Soho NYC. Asked to buy an 8G iPhone, pulled out my cash and was told that I could not purchase it – they would only take a credit card. Well, I had received the cash for Christmas specifically to get the iPhone. After talking to two salespeople and one manager, they explained that they don’t accept cash due to fear of resellers (?) but that I could buy gift cards and then buy the iPhone (!!). Unreal.

    I stood there at the register and watched this guy go through a ton of work selling me a gift card to then use it right then and there to buy the phone. Good thing all the people on line behind me waiting didn’t know what was going on… sorry to have wasted the plastic and packaging for the gift card too..

    Anyway, then I got home to activate and BAM. I’m now stuck in the ‘business account’ weekend hell. They simply won’t let me transfer my 6 year old cell number because it is attached to a business account. If I want to use the new phone, I need to start from scratch with a new personal account and a new phone number. I use my cell primarily for business. This whole situation really sucks. My company did not pay for the device, the monthy charges are almost to the penny what I spend now. Why is this arcane restriction still in effect 6 months after introduction?

    This really ruins the whole experience of what was the coolest Christmas present I ever received. Apple blows.

  23. Sammy
    January 26, 2008 at 10:15 am

    @george- HUH?!??? get a credit card and you wouldn’t have these issues.

  24. August 15, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Guess they think they are already making enough money? The security on the iphone is sub par so this may be another reason why they let Blackberry secure all the corporate accounts out there.

  1. June 28, 2007 at 1:06 am
  2. June 28, 2007 at 3:20 am
  3. June 28, 2007 at 3:20 am
  4. June 28, 2007 at 8:35 am
  5. June 28, 2007 at 9:50 am
  6. June 29, 2007 at 9:27 am
  7. September 11, 2007 at 8:19 pm
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