Global iPhone 5 Rollout Continues, Tight Supplies Be Damned

Published on September 28, 2012
by John Paczkowski

A week after it first debuted, the iPhone 5 is still in short supply, with Apple’s online store offering it for shipment in the U.S. in three to four weeks. But the aggressive rollout the company scheduled for it continues apace.

This morning, the iPhone 5 arrives not just in 22 new markets, ranging from Austria to Switzerland, but on a number of regional U.S. carriers, as well.

As of today, the device is available not only on the big three carriers — AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — but on a number of their smaller rural rivals: Cricket, C Spire, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, GCI, Golden State Cellular, Nex-Tech Wireless, Pioneer Wireless, Appalachian Wireless, MTA Solutions and nTelos. Interestingly, a handful of these companies are selling the iPhone 5 for less than the majors. Appalachian, Cellcom and nTelos are all selling the device at a $50 discount to the big three’s prices, and Cricket is offering it without contract starting at $499.99.

Will Apple have supply enough to meet the spike in demand from launching the iPhone 5 in these additional markets and new carriers? Presumably, it’s confident it does. Otherwise, we’d be seeing adjustments to the rollout schedule.

That said, there have been rumblings of limited supplies in some of these new markets. Slovak Telekom AS, a Slovakian carrier, abandoned its plans to accept preorders earlier this week for this very reason. “In the end, we’ve decided against taking preorders because of low delivery volumes from the supplier,” spokesman Michal Korec told The Wall Street Journal Thursday. “We’ll begin selling iPhone 5 tomorrow morning during regular opening hours of our stores.”

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