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AT&T mobile boss says HTC First fire sale worked [updated]

Zach Epstein
June 25th, 2013 at 10:50 AM
AT&T HTC First Sold Out

AT&T’s mobile boss has reportedly confirmed that the carrier’s fire sale on the HTC First was a success, and that the phone is now sold out. Billed as the first “Facebook phone,” HTC’s First launched this past April and was met with little to no interest from consumers. AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units during the phone’s first month of availability, and the First was promptly put on sale for just $0.99 in an effort to clear out inventory. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega, the carrier has now burned through its First inventory.

“We sold a bunch more when we lowered the price,” de la Vega told CNET. “We sold everything we had on that.”

BGR exclusively reported this past May that the First was a flop. At fewer than 15,000 units AT&T sold leading up to the fire sale, HTC First sales were even worse than sales of the HTC ChaCha, which launched on AT&T in 2011 as the Status before being discontinued soon after.

BGR’s sources claimed that the decision was made in May to discontinue the First in the coming months and return unsold inventory to HTC, and the $0.99 fire sale was apparently a last-ditch effort to clear out stock. Facebook also decided to cancel the phone’s European launch following the poor response in America.

According to BGR’s sources, AT&T’s plans have not changed and the HTC First will be discontinued.

A subsequent report from earlier this week stated that poor sales of HTC’s First has left many smartphone makers uninterested in Facebook’s Home software, and companies including Samsung, Sony, Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo have no plans to offer handsets with Home pre-installed.

UPDATE: Contrary to de la Vega’s comments, BGR was able to confirm that many stores in the New York region have inventory remaining. Several stores reported that they still have the phone available in all colors and several more used words like “plenty” and “many” when describing their remaining HTC First inventory. According to AT&T’s website, at least 50 New York City-area stores still have the HTC First in stock.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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