AT&T beefs up manpower with iPhone launch

AT&T, which will be the exclusive carrier of Apple's much-hyped new iPhone, has hired 2,000 extra workers to staff its company-owned stores for the launch, a spokesman, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report said the iPhone, a combination cell phone, media player and wireless web device, will be available only at stores owned by Apple and AT&T and on Apple's web site when it is launched on June 29.

To handle the expected crush of customers, AT&T has hired 2,000 additional employees, mostly college students, for the summer, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe was quoted by the report as saying.

Neither AT&T nor Apple has disclosed how many devices will be available at launch, but Coe said if AT&T stores run out, customers will still be able to purchase an iPhone and have it shipped to them when it's available, the report said.

AT&T has said customers who purchase the iPhone, which will retail for $499 and $599, will have to sign up for two years of service, but the cost of the service plans hasn't been announced.

AT&T and Apple have not disclosed how customers who purchase iPhones from one of Apple's 162 US stores will get wireless service activated, the report said.