T-Mobile iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c Buyers Beware

Users looking to pick up the latest additions to Apple’s venerable smartphone line, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c likely already knew that they would be in for a long wait, however T-Mobile users in some markets are in for an even longer wait: a week from Monday.

The long wait is because it seems Apple’s shortfall on iPhone devices was even more severe than what reports indicated, especially for T-Mobile users. Of the nine local T-Mobile stores in the Richmond, Virginia area, not one single T-Mobile user was able to get their hands on an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c on release day. That wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Arriving at 5 AM, we were one of the three people in line at one company-owned T-Mobile USA store, normally guaranteeing that we’d at least have our choice of device. A company representative chatted with us for a bit, then promptly informed us that he didn’t know how many devices had arrived overnight and wouldn’t be able to share any information about the store’s selection until 8 AM. At exactly 8 AM that same company representative, stepped outside to inform us that the store had not received any versions of the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c saying, “we don’t have any of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.”

Lines are typically shorter at Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Lines outside of T-Mobile for the iPhone 5, last year.

When we probed for more information, that same representative elaborated on the situation saying, “certain markets were prioritized and no Richmond [T-Mobile USA] store has any iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c devices. We can order them and send them directly to your door. If you order now, it should arrive in about a week.”

The story was the same at the Apple Store as well, although Apple Store employees were careful to note that all of the T-Mobile iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c had already been snapped up by eager users, no people we talked with in the nearly 200 person line said they were picking up an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c for use on T-Mobile.

It seems the limited number of T-Mobile compatible iPhones was snapped up by the time we arrived at 8:24 am. For reference, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c sales began at 8:00 am locally.

Read: Apple May Miss iPhone 5s Demand by Up to 50%


While our experience can’t be considered indicative of what all T-Mobile users across the country will encounter on iPhone launch day, it does mesh  with reports that the iPhone 5s in particular, is in very short supply thanks to its new Touch ID fingerprint reader.

Potential T-Mobile iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c buyers should call their local stores and ask about stock if they aren’t already in line for a device or simply order online from T-Mobile’s website. The carrier’s website is currently offering an arrival date of September 30th for some versions of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

Update: Another representative we spoke with this evening confirmed the information shared with us by T-Mobile  earlier today. However, he did also go on to note that his location in Richmond, Virginia did indeed have “a few” models left. We are still advising T-Mobile buyers to call before heading to their local store.