UK mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has received only 16,000 Apple iPhone 4 handsets, and customers have been warned not to queue up for the device when it launches on Thursday. The news follows days after O2 took the unprecedented step of limiting sales of the iPhone 4 to existing O2 customers.

A staff member at Carphone Warehouse told PC Advisor that people queuing up for the Apple iPhone 4 would be 'wasting their time'. The Carphone Warehouse staffer - who chose not to be named - said that even Carphone Warehouse staff had been told that they cannot buy the iPhone 4 'until further notice'.

According to our source, Carphone Warehouse requested 60,000 iPhone 4 handsets, and had expected to receive 'about half that'.

The news follows O2's revelation that only existing O2 contract customers will be able to upgrade to the iPhone 4 on that network, due to stock shortages.

Apple has acknowledged that shortages of stock are likely to be an issue as the fourth generation iPhone nears its June 24 release. In the past the company has been accused of holding back stock, to generate demand.

In a statement O2 sympathised with potentially disappointed Apple fans, saying: "We'd love you to join O2, however we always try to give our existing customers priority."

This stance on Apple iPhone 4 sales will remain in place until "at least the end of July".

The Apple iPhone 4 will launch in the UK this Thursday, June 24 2010, on all major networks. Details of iPhone 4 pricing can be found here.

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