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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Scratch my last message.  After talking to her I got the message before I hung up the phone!

Posted by Rishard on June 30, 2007 at 9:46 PM (CDT)


ATT sales and customer service should be open 24hrs for the whole weekend.  ATT should have special hrs for the iphone launch, which many people are experiencing problems with activation.  Bad move on ATT part for not having the customer service open for Saturday and Sunday.

Posted by Tony on June 30, 2007 at 10:18 PM (CDT)


I LOVE my iPods and iMac…but as an AT&T customer I was obviously smart to stay away on Friday.

Shame on Steve Jobs for putting his faith in AT&T.  AT&T S-U-C-K-S and there was no reason for Apple to not launch this phone “unlocked” so it can work with any provider.  AT&T obviously paid Apple a sh-t load of money to be the exclusive provider.

Steve sold you out folks!!

Posted by Dan on June 30, 2007 at 10:36 PM (CDT)


I can’t get mine activated and I am an AT&T-Cingular customer. They said I was on the old network and had to upgrade my phone.

Also the store where I bought from had 40 yesterday and said they got only 2 today and were sold out!

Posted by Joe on June 30, 2007 at 10:44 PM (CDT)


Dan, if AT&T sucks so much, why are you a customer of theirs?

After using my iPhone for a bit I can think of a few reasons things like visual voice mail, likely the biggest reason, would not work if you just selected any network, and honestly I don’t see an issue.  The Treo 650 was only available on one network provider when launched, as were many other cel phones.  If you don’t like it, don’t buy one yet, stick with what you have and don’t complain.  Honestly as AT&T/Cingular client for some time I have not had an more or fewer issues then I have had previously with T-mobile, Sprint or Verizon phones provides to me by companies I have worked for.  These were all voice and data plans using usually Treo’s but one was a Windows based smartphone…

Give it up… if you don’t own an iPhone, and have not experienced it yourself, stop sharing worthless opinions… being they are simply your opinion and not based on any facts surrounding the iPhone and using it on AT&Ts; network…

Posted by Steve on June 30, 2007 at 10:51 PM (CDT)


Just for the record. I love my iPod ... want the iPhone ... no way in heck would I get one until someone other than ATT handles the network. The problems with the network should of been expected knowing it was ATT.

Posted by David LeMunyon on June 30, 2007 at 11:03 PM (CDT)


Steve - I am a customer of AT&T by default.  I left AT&T years ago because of their lousy customer service.  I went to Cingular and had great customer service for years…but since they are now the “New AT&T” - I feel like I am at the old AT&T…AND my company has an exclusive agreement with AT&T.  Satisfied?

As someone else complained, I bought a BlackBerry Pearl almost 6 months ago and AT&T still shows me owning my old Treo when I log into my account.  And for me, this is NOT a BlackBerry vs. iPhone thing.  If I had my BlackBerry for a few years and if my company would support the iPhone, I would totally get one.

Also - my friend, you are insinuating A LOT here as I never complained…I merely stated facts.  I went to an AT&T store today to see the iPhone for myself and LOVED it.  My comment was merely to state the fact that AT&T has a history of providing lousy customer service and I think if it ever comes to light, we wil find out that the only reason why AT&T is the exclusive carrier is because they paid Apple a ton of money.  There is no reason other than that as to why this phone was not made available “unlocked” so anyone with a SIM card could use it with their provider.

I was also one of the first to by the 1G Nano - and after it got scratched after being in my silk-lined suit pocket for a half hour - and after seeing Steve-O skirt the issue and Apple quietly tried to make nice, I know better.

I’m not an Apple-basher dude…based on history, I made an educated decision - and obviously I was right.  Relax.

Posted by Dan on June 30, 2007 at 11:15 PM (CDT)


Mine is going on 27 hours.

Dead, nothing nada.


Posted by winyan on July 1, 2007 at 12:20 AM (CDT)


i purchased my iPhone on Saturday, and the activation took less than 20 minutes.  At least for me, this was far less hassle than activation has been previously at the AT&T Store.

Posted by dewarner on July 1, 2007 at 12:57 AM (CDT)


the iPhone is no longer an iBrick for me.
basically if you have two iPhones, just do a basic sim card swap, but dont do it before you read the post at the link below.


good luck.

we all need to band together against unhelpful corporate giants like AT&T.

Posted by matthew on July 1, 2007 at 1:02 AM (CDT)


It’s been 35 hours now since completing *my* part of the activation process in iTunes, and I’ve logged at least 90 minutes talking to AT&T and Apple support. Those 90 minutes were a *complete* wast of time!

AT&T blames Apple. Apple blames AT&T. The Apple rep I spoke with last night, in his infinite Californian wisdom, recommended, “Dude, just grab a beer, kick back, and relax. That’s all you can do. When you wake up tomorrow morning, I have no doubt that your phone will be activated.”

Hmm. That’s odd. I had plenty of doubts. Guess which one of us was right? It’s Sunday morning, and there’s still a $600 *brick* staring at me.

Posted by FamousPete on July 1, 2007 at 6:55 AM (CDT)


Yeah this POS useless Brick is being returned Monday. I will be asking for a full refund.  I’ve waitid over 24 hours for activation and my old cell is now dead and deactivated.  Thanks AT&T and Apple for screwing me over.  This has put a real damper on my thoughts on switching over from Windows to the Mac. What a nightmare experience.  I never had this problem with Verizon. Pathetic!

Posted by paja on July 1, 2007 at 7:54 AM (CDT)


Ya know, I understand the frustration of those that are still waiting for their iPhone to be activated, but with literally thousands and thousands of people hitting an already suspect AT&T network and customer service, shouldn’t delays be expected? I know how frustrated it is to be without a cell phone, but why don’t people have faith that things will work itself out? Obviously there is a point where things would get “ridiculous” (for example, if you bought your iPhone and started the activation process on Friday and it is still not active on Monday), but come people! The California dude FamousPete spoke with was kinda right. Just relax, hope the activation happens and anticipate the joy you will have playing w/ your new phone!

Posted by RS on July 1, 2007 at 8:43 AM (CDT)


“This has put a real damper on my thoughts on switching over from Windows to the Mac.” paja.

Hmmm, not sure why - OK, from the sounds of it the system for activating the iPhone is having some problems but that might be all due to AT&T and their network.

As far as I know AT&T have nothing to do with turning on a new Mac…..

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on July 1, 2007 at 8:50 AM (CDT)


set up activation: no sims card the phone continues to say?? why, I have no idea, and no wifi service?? why, and can’t even set up voicemail to get my messages, when you dial my number it says that my vm is not set- up, even though I have set it up, it won’t take it???? WHAT IS GOING ON? andddd the apple support is closed for the day….WHAT DO I DO? any suggestions?

Posted by beulah on July 1, 2007 at 9:22 AM (CDT)


Activation went smoothly without a hitch in 3 minutes. I was up and running at 7 PM on Friday. However ATT assign the wrong area code, meaning I had two make a long distance call from home to reach my iPhone next to me. Called ATT the next day (Saturday morning) and they changed the area code while I was on the phone. I was able to make calls from the iPhone right away but the ability to receive calls took three or four hours. Now everything works flawlessly.


Major iPhone flaw: no clipboard/cut & paste.

Posted by Gary on July 1, 2007 at 9:47 AM (CDT)


Still waiting!  It has been 38 hours now.  Has anyone had sucess in the last 24 hours switching over their old number to the new I phone?

Posted by Natalie on July 1, 2007 at 10:12 AM (CDT)


Have faith people.

Posted by Simon on July 1, 2007 at 10:36 AM (CDT)


My question is “Why did ATT not figure out this activation problem before the phone went on sale” “DId Apple keep them in the dark too?” OR “Does ATT just suck”

Posted by Shawn on July 1, 2007 at 10:36 AM (CDT)


was 10th in line. got 8gb iphone. began activation process at around 8pm on friday.  still have an iBrick.  Numerous call to different numbers didn’t help.  I blame AT&T fully, and i don’t put any blame on Apple at all.  Apple delivered on thier end, from the smooth buying process to the smooth activation.  Its AT&T who dropped the ball by providing poor service and didn’t anticipate this huge bottlenecking from activations.  I already miss sprint, as much as i hated them.

Posted by mike w on July 1, 2007 at 10:45 AM (CDT)

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