Something is seriously amiss here. Apple provides their employees with a free iPhone. AT&T employees, who have to pay for iPhones, now lose any discount they previously enjoyed. This does not seem fair.
It would definitely be a bigger hit to ATT than to Apple, being that Apple has 300 stores and ATT has 1800. But that's still a lousy way of thinking about it. I bet Apple gives away 30 phones per store for their employees. That's 9000 phones. But remember, the cost to Apple is not retail cost but just the manufacturing cost. So, what about half a million bucks. That's a small investment in building a loyal workforce.
ATT has probably half the employees per store. So I bet it would cost them a little over a million bucks. Still a small investment in building a loyal workforce.
VERY short sighted on ATT's part. Excellent long term thinking on Apple's part.
Apple is giving away almost twice that...17,000+ phones. They have more than 17,000 full time employees, and any part time who has been with them more than a year gets one too. I'd guess more in the 20,000 range.
Doesn't matter to me as I'll be getting one for free (now to get AT&T to cough up a prepaid sim) from one of my many family members who are Apple employees but don't want to pay for an iPhone.