AT&T hires extra 2,000 for iPhone launch

No. 1 telecom company bringing in 2,000 temporary employees to deal with anticipated demand for June 29 launch of Apple's cellphone.

NEW YORK ( -- AT&T has hired 2,000 temporary employees to help manage the influx of shoppers expected June 29 when Apple's iPhone goes on sale.

The No. 1 telecommunications company, which will be the exclusive service provider for the iPhone, said it is planning for enhanced security to help control crowds and prevent the theft of Apple's (up $2.32 to $123.87, Charts, Fortune 500) Wi-Fi-enabled cellphone at its roughly 1,800 stores in the first few months of distribution.

The employees "have already been hired and they have already begun working," said AT&T (up $0.00 to $39.53, Charts, Fortune 500) spokesman Michael Coe.

Sales staff at AT&T stores said they expect to see consumers camping outside the night before the launch, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The iPhone - which will sell for $499 and $599, depending on the model - has led to much anticipation among Apple fans, industry watchers and consumers.

AT&T and Apple both face high expectations for a smooth launch of the slim handset capable of playing videos and sorting voicemail in a manner similar to e-mail.

Apple has raised public awareness of the iPhone through public appearances by CEO Steve Jobs at industry events, as well as through an advertising campaign.  Top of page