iPhone activation problems widespread, serious (updated x3) | iLounge News


iPhone activation problems widespread, serious (updated x3)

Following yesterday’s rollout of Apple’s iPhone on AT&T’s wireless mobile phone network, many once-excited customers found themselves frustrated and disappointed after activation-related delays prevented use of their new $499 and $599 devices. As pointed out by iLounge reader Steve Rubel, and confirmed by two iLounge editors with similar issues, a large number of first-day iPhone customers have fanned out across the Internet to describe failures by AT&T to properly start service on the new phones. The issues are officially being attributed to overwhelming demand for the iPhone, and an AT&T representative confirmed to iLounge this morning that “virtually all AT&T stores sold out” of iPhone yesterday; spot checks this morning indicated that Apple Stores, which generally received much larger allocations of iPhones, vary from sold out of one capacity (typically 8GB) to having either or both in stock.


The iPhone, which requires a one-time download of iTunes 7.3, must go through a several-step online activation process before any of its iPod, Internet, or phone features can be used. Failure to activate the phone renders it useful only for “emergency calls,” and disables the remainder of its features; the activation process must be repeated, with fewer steps, each time the phone’s software is updated. If AT&T’s automated service, linked to through iTunes, fails to activate or re-activate the phone in a prompt manner, it will not be usable.



Discussions on Apple’s support forms now describe quoted wait times of “up to 24 hours” for activation, as well as numerous other issues relating to conversion of Individual Plans to Family Plans. Though 5 of our 7 iPhones activated properly, iLounge’s editors are currently attempting to get activation issues resolved with the other 2, and will update this article as appropriate.

Update: A second AT&T representative has told iLounge that a team of AT&T engineers has been manually working around the clock to process the flood of delayed activation requests experienced last night, which were described as falling into the “change of account type from individual to family” and “number portability” categories. Wait times range from 6 to 9 to 24 hours based on the category of account change; iLounge received a “24 hours” notice on a ported number. More straightforward iPhone accounts are typically set up via iTunes in minutes.

Updates 2 and 3: One of iLounge’s 2 long-activation iPhones was activated successfully after 18 hours. The other took roughly 40 hours, and five phone calls, since the first attempt on Friday night, and has now been fully activated.

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Quick question.

My mother can get me an iPhone and can get the service but I live in Europe. Will the phone work in Europe with my Finnish DNA card or is it locked to an AT&T network and subscriber (roaming partner)?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by Don Trammell in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 1:31 PM (CDT)


I got my Iphone and had it setup in under 10min. It was amazingly quick and painless.

Posted by Johhny in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 1:50 PM (CDT)


I had mine purchased, activated, synced and charged before 7 p.m., and several people I talked to had a similarly seamless experience getting their iPhones up and running. Hopefully this ordeal can be resolved without much hassle.

Posted by Flippy Hambone in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 1:53 PM (CDT)


ya no problems for me… havent had any problems so far

Posted by RC in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 1:59 PM (CDT)


my iphone activation process froze during at&t’s part so i just disconnected it and started over and took all of 10 min so i feel it went well for me.

ps i love this thing and so do my friends that dont have them ha

Posted by BIGP in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:01 PM (CDT)


Apparently AT&T are having problems activating iphones for people using family plans, The aske me to go ahead and activate the phone as a new No. then they would simply change my cell No. to my existing one. had a nightmare but this worked

Posted by Dave in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:02 PM (CDT)


I’m still waiting and VERY disappointed. It seems existing AT&T/Cingular customers or new account customers with new numbers are getting activation much faster (minutes compared to hours). I needed a new account + old number transferred. Activating it at a store would have been much easier for me I think.

Posted by Dennis Lloyd in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:02 PM (CDT)


15 hours and four phone calls later with no solution. “Nick” in AT&T customer service (800-331-0500) has been the most helpful with the least amount of making up random numbers while fumbling about for a new screen to prompt him. He’s on hold with Apple trying to see why the “porting” is done at AT&T but not Apple. At some magic point and email is supposed to arrive with a link. Clicking the link allegedly completes the activation and takes me to a fully functional phone (or mostly functional if my Verizon number isn’t relinquished in time). We’ll see.

Posted by Kawika Holbrook in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:21 PM (CDT)


It took me about 10 minutes to activate the iPhone, but I did see a couple of error messages from AT&T’s end of the process along the way. I am an existing AT&T customer, and from what I am reading that makes it a much quicker process. AND I love the phone!

Posted by David Robinson in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:25 PM (CDT)


“virtually all AT&T stores sold out”

Not suprisingly, considering AT&T stores only got 40 units each (at least in my region) while Apple stores got hundreds.

Personally, methinks that’s crap.

Posted by Eric Gruber in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM (CDT)


We have a family plan, and were on hold 90 minutes with AT&T this morning. Then got disconnected and couldn’t call back because they weren’t accepting new calls. So no activation yet…

Posted by LeslieT in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 2:48 PM (CDT)


Welcome to AT&T.

It really is the network, you know.  Jesus Phone aside, AT&T is going to drive people insane.

Posted by malren in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 3:08 PM (CDT)


I was previously using ATT for my treo 680…Activation of iphone took 2-3 minutes and I received activation right away. Almost. I still have no cellular service…Since 8:20 PM Friday…Check me if I’m wrong, but cell service is ONE of the reasons I bought this!!!

A no waiting (really) call to customer service (ATT) said my issue was the Media Works (or whatever it was called) package not being completely removed on their side..

She then said I was “in the queue and it should turn on in a couple of hours.”

We’ll see…

Posted by David Rubinoff in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 3:18 PM (CDT)


I called AT&T and my number wasported yesterday.

Also, I logged on to my AT&T account and it shows my iPhone as my phone and says “Status: Active” beneath it.

The problem now (for me, anyway) is Apple’s activation process.

Moreover, if the phone weren’t designed by Apple in such a way that prevented the use of non-phone-related functions without activation, the common statement on this thread would be more like “I’m still waiting for the phone to come on, but the rest of it is awesome!”

If people want to be angry at someone, be angry at the control freaks at Apple

Posted by Ty Morton in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 3:44 PM (CDT)


I’ve been waiting almost 18hours.  Don’t believe the hype that new accounts and Cingular customers are getting pushed to the front.  I’ve had Cingular for 8 years now, and I’m still waiting to use my phone.

Posted by L. L. in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 3:58 PM (CDT)


Worst. Cellphone. Experience. Ever.

I’m an existing AT&T customer and just want to replace my phone with the iPhone. I was told up to 24 hours and now they’re saying up to 48 hours.

Noone can tell me when, noone can reset the activation to start over. Nothing. Apple blames AT&T, AT&T blames Apple.

Worst. Cellphone. Experience. Ever.

Posted by Ryan in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 4:07 PM (CDT)


As ive there are many unhappy customers that have spent $640.00 on a great looking phone that has a great picture of the earth when you turn it on. Ive been on and off the phone with AT&T and Apple Iphone support and all finally conclude with one saying “wait for the E-mail” Can some one send me an email so my phone becomes active. I think that giving people unactivated phones was the stupidest thing in the world. They should do it at the store, why Apple and AT&T have decided to do this only GOD knows. Cant wait to play with the phone for all of use who are waiting for the magic email they understand my pain. For know i will just keep looking at the globe and keep checking my email.

Posted by Chris in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 4:08 PM (CDT)


Here’s a magic number that will get you (new activations only) instant support.  I waited 12 seconds for someone to answer.  These guys do wonders!

Posted by smithma75 in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 4:20 PM (CDT)


Guess the number would help, huh?  1-877-777-4189.  Good Luck!

Posted by smithma75 in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 4:21 PM (CDT)


I bought my phone last night and went through the activation process but got a No Service message.  I didn’t panic because I thought there might be a backlog of requests.  I called AT&T this morning and discovered all I had to do was turn my phone completely off and back on - that was it.  I called back later today to ask a question about voicemail setup.  The woman who helped me was extremely helpful.

I guess the experience people expect is the one they get.  I can imagine AT&T was hit pretty hard with new accounts so I expected some hiccups.  The upside has been great customer service.

I love my phone BTW.

Posted by Louise Howard in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 30, 2007 at 4:51 PM (CDT)

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