A stock shortage is overshadowing the impending 3G Apple iPhone launch as only a handful of handsets arrive at stores.
O2 posted a message on its website warning that on average stores will have only a few dozen and they expect to sell out quickly.
Some stores will receive as few as five devices and the four Oxford Street branches have received little over 100 each, compared with 1,000 for the launch of the 2G iPhone.
The announcement follows emergency meetings held between store managers yesterday where they were told of the shortages.
One O2 staffer described the number of handsets being sent to stores as "ridiculously low".
"This is ludicrous," the staffer said. "My store is getting less than twenty devices, nowhere near enough. Last year it went like clockwork. This year it’s a mess."
Carphone Warehouse staff also reported they would also have very low stock levels.
O2 said it is working closely with Apple to source additional stock which is expected to arrive on a weekly basis.
Earlier this week O2 sold out of its pre-order handsets as the website crashed through high traffic.
O2 split pre-order stock between new and upgrading O2 customers and said it sold out of its stock allocation of the 16GB version for new customers within two hours.