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AT&T to NYC: No iPhone for You. A Present for Google, Palm, RIM

The Consumerist reports that AT&T (T) is not selling the Apple iPhone in New York City. And that leaves an enormous market open for Palm (PALM), RIM (RIMM), and Google's (GOOG) Android -- to say nothing of Verizon.

The tip came from a reader who was shopping for a new phone and noticed that the AT&T Wireless website showed no iPhone being available in his Brooklyn zip code. The Consumerist started checking availability in a number of cities, including LA, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, and San Francisco. The latter is interesting (I even double-checked) because San Francisco and New York City have been the two areas with the largest number of complaints about dropped calls on the 3G network. AT&T has blamed at least part of its connection problems on iPhone owners making heavy use of data bandwidth.

I checked some other locales: Oklahoma City; Atlanta; Portland (Oregon, that is -- parts of Portland, Maine are apparently not served by the carrier); Santa Fe; New Orleans; and Boise. They all seemed to have the iPhone. But not the single largest city by population in the country. AT&T has made it clear that it plans to reduce customer mobile data use. And, bingo, it just did. As Consumerist writer Laura Northrup reported hearing from an AT&T customer service rep, "New York is not ready for the iPhone." Or maybe AT&T is not ready for New York.

However, perhaps other companies are. This opens Wizard-of-Oz-palace-sized doors for Verizon, which doesn't have the iPhone (yet), as well as for Palm, Research in Motion, and the various manufacturers that use Android in their units. If people simply cannot get iPhones, then why not go to the carrier whose ad campaign mocks AT&T's 3G coverage and get a smartphone that actually is available. You'd think that if you were on the verge of besting yourself in this vital location and invite Apple to end an exclusive deal, you'd take a fair amount of money and upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.

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