AT&T has kicked-off sales of the Nokia Lumia 920, and we’ve already swung by one store to pick up a handset for ourselves. While we had no trouble (short of a lack of color options) buying an on-contract 920, what about if you were interested in a non-subsidized handset, instead? Considering just how cheaply AT&T is selling off-contract 920s, only costing a couple hundred bucks more than some subsidized models, that’s probably an option that a lot of you have considered. According to some reports, though, you might have a bit of a struggle waiting for you, with AT&T stores refusing to sell the Lumia 920 off-contract.
We have no reason to believe this is official AT&T policy, and may be restricted to a few individual locations, but there have been multiple accounts of stores refusing to sell interested customers the full-price $450 Lumia 920. Instead, they’re apparently directing people to go online and order off-contract phones through the carrier’s website.
Some theories for the motivations behind this kind of behavior point to retail employees being concerned over not making a commission from such off-contract sales, and with initial stocks of the 920 being limited, wanting to maximize their ability to profit from them. That may be a cynical interpretation, but it could still be pretty close to the truth.
Update: AT&T wanted to weigh-in with us on this issue, and makes it clear that what we’re hearing about is in no way sanctioned by the carrier. Stores where this is happening are acting contrary to AT&T policy, and when it does hear about stuff like this going down, it’s reaching out to those stores to set them straight.
Source: The Nokia Blog