iPhone fans will soon have another place to camp out: Best Buy. The retailer is to announce today that it has inked a deal to be the only...
MINNEAPOLIS — iPhone fans will soon have another place to camp out: Best Buy.
The retailer is to announce today that it has inked a deal to be the only retailer outside of Apple and AT&T stores to carry the new iPhone 3G.
The phones will be available at all of Best Buy’s 965 U.S. stores Sept. 7.
The iPhone 3G (a reference to third-generation wireless technology) offers faster and more reliable service, with marked improvements in Web browsing.
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AT&T is the exclusive wireless provider in the U.S.
The timing is good for Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer-electronics company.
Like many of the nation’s retailers, Best Buy’s sales have slumped as consumers have pulled back on discretionary purchases in the face of rising costs for food, housing and gas.
A boost next month could give the retailer some momentum heading into the vital holiday season.
Best Buy spokesman Jeff Dudash said the retailer has been talking to Apple for years to cut an exclusive iPhone deal.
Best Buy and Apple have had a partnership since fall 2006, when Best Buy began testing an Apple store-within-a-store concept in 50 stores. The concept has now expanded to 600 locations.
Best Buy just completed its nationwide rollout of Best Buy Mobile, a store within a store that includes specially trained salespeople on mobile phones and the often-complicated plans from carriers.
“It’s really a validation of where we’ve been able to take our wireless operations,” Dudash said. “Two years ago, this wouldn’t have happened.”
London-based Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy’s partner in Europe, already carries the iPhone in its stores throughout Europe, Dudash said.
Best Buy will market the iPhone along with its lucrative Geek Squad services, for those interested in paying extra to make sure the phone gets set up properly.
Apple launched the second generation of the iPhone on July 11.