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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.



  1. Robert Paulson

    09/20/2013 at 9:40 am

    I was informed this morning that no T-Mobile store in the Dallas Fort Worth area received any stock of the Iphone 5s

    • Luis

      09/20/2013 at 3:07 pm

      I believe you were misinformed. They were selling them at the Town East Mall, T-Mobile store, located inside.

  2. David

    09/20/2013 at 11:36 am

    Might as well sign up for Verizon service and then cancel. I acquired a white 5s model from Verizon and popped in my Tmobile SIM to find out it IS factory unlocked and connected to the Tmobile LTE network!!!! Also the difference apple has on their website between the A1533 CDMA model and GSM is that the CDMA supports MORE networks than the ones sold by AT&T and Tmobile. So you get more bang for your buck by having an a1533 CDMA phone.

    Good luck to your search on finding your iphone 5s.

  3. James

    09/20/2013 at 12:12 pm

    I just bought a T-Mobile iPhone 5s no lines at Staples Mills Rd Richmond VA so I don’t know what this guy is talking about.

    • Travis Pope

      09/20/2013 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you for the tip. We called the location you mentioned this afternoon and they did confirm that they’d received “a few models”. They also confirmed the information shared with us by earlier reps.

  4. Ida

    09/20/2013 at 12:47 pm

    T-mobile buys “factory Unlocked iPhone” not proprietary locked e.g. Verizon and at&t . So it takes them awhile to get to the stores. The bright side is that you would get a factory Unlocked phone.

  5. Michael

    09/20/2013 at 1:11 pm

    I was able to get a 64 GB 5s this morning at an Apple store in Indianapolis. I got there about a half hour before the store opened, and got one of the 3 remaining T-Mobile devices left (All 64 GB). They had a ton of the AT&T phones left at the time.

  6. Brian

    09/21/2013 at 5:25 pm

    I got mine in the richmond va area with no problems maybe you misunderstood the representative. The store I was at had both the 5s and 5c in several colors

  7. Kirk s

    09/21/2013 at 5:28 pm

    At 10, I went to a tmobile store and ordered a 32 grey and it already shipped. I didn’t think it would ship for weeks. I guess the gold and silver are a different story.

  8. shelby

    09/22/2013 at 9:02 am

    I ordered the 16gb iPhone 5c in pink. And its currently on back order with no estimated delivery date. I didn’t find this out until after I placed my order.

  9. jlaigo2

    09/23/2013 at 7:57 am

    Still have not corrected this false story?

  10. Nick

    09/24/2013 at 1:16 pm

    Soo I don’t get it what’s the big deal ??
    once you’ve seen ONE i-phone you’ve seen them ALL

    • DD DD

      09/25/2013 at 5:31 pm

      “i-phone” ?

  11. Jo Jo

    09/24/2013 at 1:31 pm

    I like boobs

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