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AT&T CEO Sees Less Hope That 5G iPhone Will Fuel Upgrade Frenzy

  • Pandemic-ravaged economy will weigh on phone shoppers
  • ‘We aren’t in the best of economic times,’ Stankey says

The wireless industry has long hoped that the arrival of 5G-enabled devices, including Apple Inc.’s flagship iPhone, will fuel a massive upgrade cycle.

But the buying spree could be less dramatic than originally expected, AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Stankey said in an interview Tuesday. Given the pandemic-hobbled economy -- and the fact that many customers won’t immediately see a big jump in service speed -- shoppers may take it slow embracing new models.