Stock shortages mar iPhone 5S launch day: networks respond

Stock shortages mar iPhone 5S launch day
Look how much fun they're having! Sucks you can't get one

Want to get a fancy new iPhone on release day? We've spoken to the networks to find out why there are so few around.

The iPhone 5S launch has been beset by a lack of handsets across the UK - leading to some networks not having any in store at all.

According to Twitter, the Regent's Street and Cardiff stores have already sold out of the 5S an hour after flinging open their doors, while we've seen first hand that the phone is out of stock in the Cambridge Apple Store too.

The new handset, which features fingerprint recognition and a boosted camera, has gone on sale today in the UK - but those on O2 are going to miss out.


We spoke to the effervescent network, which confirmed buyers may have to wait a month and a half to get their hands on the new device:

"We won't have iPhone 5S stock in stores to sell but customers will be able to place their order with us in-store. They can also order online or over the phone.

"If customers are in store they'll be able to get a demo of the phone and place their order with the help of one of our store advisors.

"We anticipate that orders made in our stores for the 5S will be available to collect at the store in three to six weeks. The customer will receive a text when their handset is ready for collection."


That's not good news when EE has confirmed to us that it will have a 'limited' level of stock, with a leaked document sent to us last night showing that there will be over 80 stores with 50 or more units on sale this morning.

"Most of the pre-launch interest we've received for the iPhone 5S has been from customers wanting it on 4GEE, so with limited supply we've configured the stock we have to work with our 4GEE service," said a spokesperson.

"We're expecting to receive further deliveries of stock soon, so customers who want the iPhone 5S on Orange or T- Mobile can place an order in store or with our telesales agents, who will contact them as soon as stock becomes available."

Orange and T-Mobile

It doesn't look good if you're after an iPhone 5S on one of these networks, as the new handset is being pushed straight through to EE to get people onto the 4G speeds (and thus paying more each month).

We spoke to EE about this, and a spokesperson confirmed the strategy, with the only recourse for Orange and T-Mobile users looking to get an iPhone 5S now will be to use EE's new Swap deal, which lets them transition onto the 4G network.


Vodafone has been in touch too, and seems to be somewhere between O2 and EE when it comes to stock levels, with many Twitter users confirming they've been able to buy from a variety of stores up and down the country.

Vodafone sent us this short statement: "There's stock in all stores, which is being sold on a first come, first served basis."


And Three is being quite tight-lipped on its stock levels, refusing to comment when asked about its iPhone 5S stock levels. However, it did confirm on Twitter that it will have some units in store today:

"iPhone 5S is available now on Three, the network rated No.1 for iPhone… go in store or buy online."

Twitter users have confirmed that Three has a limited stock, with many stores selling out in the first hour and some outlets only selling to new customers, with those wanting to upgrade being forced to wait.

We'll keep an eye on this story as it develops, but it looks like if you aren't there by midday, you won't have much luck in getting a flagship iPhone. Loads of iPhone 5C units though, if you want to make things a little cheaper…

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.