All This Useless Beauty

So yes, I got an iPhone. The story of how I acquired it is slightly amusing but not particularly interesting enough to excuse this fact: I had it paid for and in hand as soon as fifteen minutes after it went on sale yesterday at 6:00p, but I have yet to be able to activate it or use it.

Right now, I’m stuck in some kind of frustrating limbo between AT&T and Verizon Wireless, in which my new AT&T account isn’t yet active and my Verizon number hasn’t quite transferred over — I get a message that says “Your activation requires additional time to complete.” Because of the obsessively controlling way in which the iPhone experience was designed, it’s actually impossible for me to use any of the iPhone’s features — even those that have no need whatsoever for wireless service — until this situation is resolved.

My friends who transferred mobile phone numbers from other wireless carriers are already up and running with their iPhones. Not me. Instead, I’m spending frustrating hour after hour on the phone with customer service operators at both carriers with no luck. Meanwhile, my remaining time on this Earth is wasting away…

Stalled iPhone Activation
  1. ugh, that’s frustrating. i’ve been waiting to see what you think of it! i’m dying to get one but am gonna have to wait till next year. trying to be wise with my cash nowadays.

    what i find annoying on my end is that i used to be an AT&T customer. when cingular bought their wireless division, it was a pain in the butt to switch over my plan. now it’s AT&T again! i’m mostly delaying my phone upgrade because i just don’t want to deal with the switch again 🙁 AND i have this awesome flat-rate unlimited media package that i don’t want to give up.

  2. Yours is just one of MANY reasons I’m waiting to see how things pan out! It sucks that it’s taking so long… hopefully you’re up and running today, eh?

  3. I am getting the same activation screen and have been waiting for over 15 hours. What’s most frustrating is that AT&T seems to have no idea what the next step in the process will be for me. I have been told by three different reps that I will a) receive an email, b) receive a text message to my iPhone, and c) need to wait and restart my phone every so often.

    Khoi, if and when you get past this stage in the process, please post an update. Thanks.

  4. It’s a shame your having so many issues. Apple put together the easist possible framework for getting and activating your phone, and AT&T manages to hose it up. I can tell that the iPhone is worth the wait though. As a matter of fact, this comment was composed via the phone. Keep the faith!!

  5. At this point, it seems as if most of the fault is with AT&T, who are way backed up with new subscribers. That said, it continues to work perfectly for some of my friends on different carriers.

    It’s a shame that despite all of Apple’s engineering and design efforts, the out-of-the-box experience is so thoroughly terrible thanks to AT&T. What a way to start it off.

  6. Is it any surprise that AT&T is not delivering? Apple has made a deal with a real devil on this one. There is nothing good that AT&T has done re giving its customers better service. AT&T is a big part of the problem, in fact, re the state of the telecom and broadband sectors in the US. As most of you likely know,broadband service in the US is, relative to the download speeds in many other industrialized nations, maddeningly, insanely bad. We have AT&T, among others, to thank for that. To hitch your wagon the AT&T and then expect your wagon to do anything other then stand still seems to me to be naive in the extreme.

  7. I’m pretty sure that the federal number portability law gives a window of at least 24 hours in which a carrier has to give up the number and let the new carrier use it.

    Since every report I’ve heard so far of slow activation is by someone moving from Verizon, I wouldn’t be surprised if either Verizon is purposely being slow or that they are more disorganized and cannot fulfill the outgoing transfers efficiently.

    So I wouldn’t toss all the blame at AT&T quite yet.

    I do completely agree that Apple over-crippled the ability to use the other features of the iPhone before it is activated, although I also assume that it would have made the UI pretty weird since a lot of the functionality crosses over between the apps.

  8. I was an existing customer and it took over sixteen hours to get mine activated. I wasn’t pleased. I don’t think AT&T was prepared for how big this was going to be. But here I am commenting on your site with it and I am slowly getting the hang of typing on this thing. Loving it.

  9. Thats like waking up on Christmas morning and opening up your presents only to find a photo of what Santa (errr mom and dad) wanted to buy you but they procrastinated…

    wait did that sound bitter? We were still talking hypethetically right?

    either way THAT SUCKS!

  10. Man, big bummer Khoi. We activated ours around 8 pm yesterday with no trouble at all. I got the “additional time” message on the 2nd one, but got the final confirmation within 5 minutes.

    Once you’re past all the frustration, it will make up for it. I was expecting to be disappointed in some part of it in some way, but that hasn’t happened yet. It’s well done and I’m confident it was a good choice.

  11. Khoi, like you, I am transferring from Verizon. I was on the phone 7 times today for an average of 1.5-2.5 hours. My phone is activated, but, the network keeps going away (read: the AT&T logo gets replaced by “No Service”). Wifi is rocking fine. Syncing is rocking fine. I’m told that ports from other providers takes up to 72 hours PLUS the 18-24 hours it can take for just activation (which is a separate hustle altogether). I feel you, bruh, I feel you. 99% there.

  12. I feel your pain. I moved my number over from T-mobile. My boyfriend had our iPhones in hand shortly after 6pm on Friday.

    My iPhone finally activated Saturday night at 10:32pm, a mere 26 hours after I tried to activate using iTunes.

    My old phone service cut off tonight at 8:56pm. But my new AT&T service has not yet kicked in. The phone continues to say “no service.”

  13. I transfered from tmobile in under 12 minutes and am writing this via iPhone.
    Keep the faith. There are kinks, but overall, this device exceeds my expectations. Other phones, PDAs and electronics will begin to feel like antiques from a previous century.

  14. sigh – I’m right there with you. Im transferring both myself and my fiance from one joint T-Mobile account to one joint plan on ATT, my phone went right through – she’s stuck here waiting some unknown amount of time.

  15. I hope you’re up and running soon. I decided to activate the phone with a new number and then transfer my old number from T-Mo over in a few days. I hope don’t sound like I’m gloating; I just wasn’t positive how seamless the change would be and couldn’t function without my primary number working.

    Not something that everyone can afford the time/money for, but just offering it as one possibility. My activation went through at 12:30a on Saturday in about 10 minutes.

  16. The biggest issue seems to be lack of training on AT&T’s part.

    When I tried to activate my iPhone, I received a message saying that my existing AT&T rate plan was incompatible and instructing me to call AT&T. I did, and they helped me change my plan over the phone. The rep told me to sit back and wait for a message to be sent to my iPhone. I waited and waited, but the message never arrived.

    The next day, I called AT&T’s iPhone activation line to check the status. The automated system told me that AT&T needed more info from me in order to activate, then transferred me to one their Activation support reps. The support rep told me that my plan was incompatible. When I explained that I had changed my plan the day before, the rep said it wasn’t fixed and transferred me to the Rates department. The rate support rep told me everything was fine and to wait until tomorrow for an email. When I asked why the Activiation department was still showing my plan as problematic, I was told not to worry and to be patient.

    I decided NOT to wait, and instead spent several hours on the phone going back and forth between departments speaking to various managers and supervisors. Each person I talked to offered up a slightly different explanation for the problem, but they all agreed that there was nothing they could do and I just needed to wait it out. Afterall, there were lots of new activations and their system was overwhelmed.

    By Sunday evening I had pretty much given up, but I decided to try one more time. I called the Activation department for the ninth time, and again explained my problem.

    “You’re rate plan is incompatible,” the rep explained.

    “But I changed it over the phone on Friday!”

    “Well, it’s not showing up on my end,” the rep replied.

    I was just about to hang up when the rep said, “would you like me to just go ahead and activate your phone anyway?” Then she typed something in to her computer, and 30 seconds later, my iPhone was up and running.

    This whole time, all AT&T had to do was choose to believe the CUSTOMER rather than their SYSTEM.

  17. “Because of the obsessively controlling way in which the iPhone experience was designed, it’s actually impossible for me to use any of the iPhone’s features — even those that have no need whatsoever for wireless service — until this situation is resolved.”

    This is standard on phones, the camera and mp3 player on mine don’t work without a sim card.

  18. An alternative title for this post may as well be “When Steve’s Reality Distortion Field goes sour”. So much for a company who’s made a name out of making a no-brainer out of everything.

    However, it is quite evident that the lion’s share of the flaws lies on AT&T’s “service”. Me, I’d rather wait until they sell an unlocked version (or a way to do it, whichever comes first).

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