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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UPDATE: Those having trouble may interested in two articles. One here:


It appears things are getting better? Here’s the other one:


It appears some the issues are actually tied to inept ATT CS reps. Imagine that.

Good luck everyone.

Posted by mr.dave on July 1, 2007 at 4:34 PM (CDT)


If you build it, they will come.  They knew we wanted it and we all came to buy it. Apple and AT&T (formerly BellSouth, Southwestern Bell, Cingular, and AT&T Wireless) have been in the business long enough to know how to build, advertise, sell and activate.  This was a new venture; something that has never been done before.  Do you really think either of these two great companies set out to fail?  Do you really think that their reputation isn’t going to take a temporary hit?  I say temporary because we can look back in history and find all sorts of failures that occurred while trying to secceed at something.  They’ll figure it out; they’ll make good on their promises to us.  This may not make you feel one ounce better about your iPhone not activating like it was supposed to but think of the hundreds of thousands of activations that did go through without a hitch.  They’re happy!  Hopefully they “feel” us as we eagerly wait for ours to activate as well.  It was their intention to secceed but they also knew there would be unforseen bumps in the road.  This one is a pretty good sized bolder I’ll admit.  But don’t let the temporary setbacks cloud our future visions.  Always remember this:  NO ONE, IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US!

Posted by smithma75 on July 1, 2007 at 4:56 PM (CDT)


My problem was that I’m a six year ATT/Cingular customer. Sigh. TDMA month to month account for my car phone. I’m at 30 hours and counting.

Posted by David Fox on July 1, 2007 at 5:08 PM (CDT)


i feel bad for you guys.  i am not in position to buy an iphone but i can imagine how high my blood pressure would be if i was in such a position, waiting, waiting, waiting….  it just sucks.

Posted by Jacob Anderson on July 1, 2007 at 5:14 PM (CDT)


Just NOW received my third confirmation email that my iPhone is being activated.  Woo-hoo (sarcasm).  Can’t wait.

Posted by Maritza_Miami on July 1, 2007 at 5:48 PM (CDT)


In response to Jacob’s:

“makes a person wonder how Apple, in its infinite wisdom, could have chosen a company like AT&T to partner with.
Posted by Jacob Anderson on July 1, 2007 at 1:01 PM (PDT)”

Apple originally went to Verizon with the phone and Verizon passed (or Apple….one of them passed) because Verizon wanted more control over the phone then Apple was willing to give them. 

Verizon typically has tighter control over their phones than most other companies, i.e. having their own interface on even a razr instead of the motorola one, and locked down features such as bluetooth for only a headset instead of also for data transfer.

Posted by Jeff on July 1, 2007 at 6:09 PM (CDT)


It is apple and ATT fault. You can not blame just ATT. Yes I HATE ATT and LOVE apple but in order for this product to work properly it takes both of them. NONE of this smugness apple user stuff com

Posted by connor on July 1, 2007 at 6:19 PM (CDT)


I couldn’t get mine to work.  Then, I turned my phone off for a few minutes and got a sandwich.  When I turned it back on the activation email immediately appeared.  Maybe it was coincidence.  Or maybe a shutdown is just what I needed.  In any case I have a fully functioning phone now.  And I love it!  Give it a go - it can’t hurt.

Posted by Mr. Success on July 1, 2007 at 6:33 PM (CDT)


Purchased my iPhone today and had no problems getting it activated.  Decided on getting a new number instead of transferring my old number from my T-Mobile account.

Posted by Audrey McGirt on July 1, 2007 at 6:37 PM (CDT)


Anybody having trouble activating the iPhone, then please call this ATT number 877-800-3701 and press option #1.  They will say up to 60 mins wait, but actually it’s only 10-15 mins. Make sure you give them your contract number, so if you get disconnected then they can call you back.

Posted by Tony on July 1, 2007 at 7:00 PM (CDT)


This other person helped me by giving me the ATT number, after I waited for 36 hrs.  I spoke to a ATT customer service rep and I’m up and running within 2 mins.  Later I helped my friend to activate his iPhone and it took less than 5 mins, just by using itune and no ATT customer service rep. So for all people having trouble activating the iPhone, Please call ATT at 877-800-3701 and press Option #1

Posted by Tony on July 1, 2007 at 7:04 PM (CDT)


I’ve spend over 48 hrs trying to hook up my iPhone with old old ATT SIMS card. Calling at lease 8 ATT reps for over 9 hours hold time and no one was helpful till the last agent. 3 problems exist: old rate plan that didn’t exist, business account, wrong appleID credit card.  So I fix each with ATT. 1st get the business account off to private, second get on any existing rate plan with 3G rate. Then go to ATT store for new SIMS card and reactivate all process again. In 2 mins iPhone was set up.  Don’t wait for email, it should not take the computer to think that long. If I were to wait like they told me, I wouldn’t be playing with my iPhone now.  Not apple’s problem.

Posted by Mark W on July 1, 2007 at 7:06 PM (CDT)


Activation issues is because there are 3 million phones sold and only a limited amount of bandwidth to activate each phone. Bottleneck, thats technology

Posted by Guest User on July 1, 2007 at 10:21 PM (CDT)


An update to my earlier post: Started my activation nearly 48 hrs ago and still no iphone service. After spending hrs on the phone with both companies, finally AT&T figured out that I had to update to a new rate plan, change my business acct to a personal acct and enter the correct imei number. Now they say it’ll be an additional 24 to 48 hrs for activation. Meanwhile, my old SIM has been disconnected by AT&T and I am without a cell phone! It this isn’t fixed by tomorrow afternoon, I’m returning this thing to the apple store and cancelling my AT&T service. I can’t imagine wanting to do business with either company ever again.

Posted by Robin on July 1, 2007 at 10:28 PM (CDT)


I’m just trying to move from an old att phone to my new iphone and I’ve been waiting 7 hours so far. What the fuck. Is it really so hard to move a SIM number within your existing system.

Posted by Josh Gibson on July 1, 2007 at 10:47 PM (CDT)


Is this the reason that the SBCGlobal, ATT, and Pacbell networks were bought to their knees on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7/28. Tracert showed no response. Long waits to get to Yahoo world wide web service along with Ebay and other search engines attached to the ATT network. Is this a glimpse of what we have to look forward too?

Posted by Monarke on July 2, 2007 at 1:50 AM (CDT)


It’s also amazing to me how advertising can sell something. Seems to me this is nothing but a glorified palmpilot.  The PalmOne lifedrive also has the very same features and is standard with a 4gb HD. :)

Posted by Donald Resor on July 2, 2007 at 1:53 AM (CDT)


i got the iphone for me and my girl friend saturday morning. began activating in in itune in the afternoon around twelve. were both porting numbers. mine activated almost imediatly. but hers said it would take longer and would be activated by july 1, at 1:39 pm.  ive called att and they said its verizons fault. i called verizon. they aren’t involed with the number porting out and they have no record of it being attempted to be ported. called back att. they said their busy. its 1:59 am right now on july 2nd. thats 36 hours. wtf

Posted by neil on July 2, 2007 at 1:55 AM (CDT)


I’m in Seattle and first attempted activating an iPhone and porting over a number from T-Mobile, on Friday around 9pm PST - excited at being able to play right away with my new toy.  It’s now almost 11pm PST on Sunday evening….that’s 50 hours and counting, and still no iPhone. 

Five calls with AT&T customer service reps over 2 days and still nothing . . . the same story that they are backlogged and my number hasn’t yet ported over from T-Mobile (at least I can still make calls from that service), with no emails indicating my iPhone has been activated.  What was supposed to be a 24-hour process is now about to enter its third day. 

This has been the absolute worst customer service experience that I’ve encountered, probably ever.  I jumped from T-Mobile who I was very happy with, to a questionable AT&T experience and who obviously wasn’t prepared for the demand this weekend.  I sincerely hope they don’t expect some of us to pay for an activation fee when it takes this long.

Posted by Chuck Blevens on July 2, 2007 at 2:06 AM (CDT)


The LifeDrive is not a phone (or an iPod) plus it’s 19 mm thick versus just 11 mm for the iPhone. That’s just for starters.

Posted by technolawyer on July 2, 2007 at 2:30 AM (CDT)

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