Sprint has done it once again, making me wait up to three weeks for the iPhone. The last time the company did this was with the iPhone 4s, and since I am required to sign a two year contract to get the subsidized pricing on Apple’s iPhone, I had to stick with the carrier’s plans. Though the three week waiting period is true for a lot of carriers, I am a Sprint customer and I don’t understand why the carrier couldn’t get me my iPhone within a week or so of it going on sale.
I think the three week waiting process is unfair for two reasons. First, I know some friends who simply waited in line at their local Sprint store and received the iPhone 5s in the capacity and color that they wanted. I think Sprint should limit the number of iPhones they have available in-store, and instead ship out the iPhone to customers who ordered online. I say this only because I literally ordered at 3:01am, one minute after the iPhone 5s went on sale, while my friends stood on a line the next morning and received their devices at a Sprint store.
The second reason I think the waiting process is unfair is something that is very specific to my Sprint account (though a bit of fault can also be laid on Apple). My Sprint account contains a family plan with four iPhones, and has a corporate discount applied to it, which means that not all Sprint stores will be able to upgrade me. This means that if I walk into a regular Sprint store that has a ton of iPhone 5s models in stock (though I’m sure not many do), they will not be able to upgrade me. Only a corporate Sprint store will be able to make the necessary changes to my account, and unfortunately, there are only a handful of corporate stores in NYC (most of which sell out of the iPhone fairly quickly).
The Apple Store is also not able to upgrade me to the iPhone 5s because of my corporate account. In 2011, my brother walked into an Apple Store and ordered two black 16GB iPhone 4S units. We thought we got lucky (indeed, we did) because the iPhone 4S was sold out everywhere, and there he was, with two iPhones in front of him on the table. After several minutes trying to upgrade our lines, the Apple Store employee took away both of the iPhones and pointed out that they were not eligible to upgrade corporate accounts. After this encounter, I waited three more weeks to receive my iPhone 4S, and got it nearly a month after it was released.
This same thing appears to be happening to me again, because I couldn’t purchase my iPhone from many Sprint stores and Apple Stores, being limited to Best Buy or Sprint’s three week waiting period for online iPhone sales.