iPhone Activation Problems Plaguing Countless New iPhone Owners

UPDATE - July 11th, 2008: If you're looking for information on activation issues plaguing iPhone 3G owners, visit the following link: Not Again: iPhone 3G Release Plagued by Activation Problems.

Does the following sound familiar: you rushed home with your new iPhone, plugged it into your computer, loaded up iTunes, and started zipping through the activation process. After selecting a plan, perhaps setting up an iTunes account, and agreeing to a few sets of terms - you were just about ready to use your iPhone. Then, it happened. "It", in this case, refers to the "your iPhone activation requires additional time to complete" message that seemingly countless iPhone customers have received.

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Subsequently, users who receive the wait message receive an email from Apple's iTunes store which states the following: "AT&T is now processing your activation. You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete."

There are mixed indications from AT&T about what is causing the delays. AT&T representatives have suggested individual account issues, overwhelming activation volumes, and delays related to porting numbers from other networks. Though most customers who have actually gotten to speak with AT&T customer service (hold times are over an hour in most cases) report being told they can expect a 2-6 hour wait, some have reported being told they may not have their iPhones activated for 24-72 hours.

Most customers who are in the activation waiting period have also already had their existing phone's service disabled by AT&T, further increasing the frustration involved in waiting.

It's worth mentioning that the iPhone is, in a sense, useless without activating it. Short of being able to make emergency calls, there's little one can do with their new iPhone except play with the unlock slider on the "Activate iPhone" screen. And folks, despite those who might feel like it is, your iPhone not being activated is NOT an emergency - so please resist the urge to call 9-1-1 and complain to them. Besides, they can't help.

For those of you that have contacted iPhoneFAQ looking for answers to these activation issues, check back to this post, we'll update information here as it becomes available.

(Updated - June 30th, 11:20am EDT) AT&T customer service has indicated that pre-existing AT&T customers waiting for activation with their previous phone already disconnected can remove the SIM card from the iPhone, place it in their other phone, and use that for calls while waiting for thieir iPhone activation email. According to AT&T, doing such will not interrupt or affect the waiting activation.

Disclaimer: we're not supporting this information from AT&T or suggesting you do anything but wait. However, for those of you who may need to place urgent calls, this may be an option to exercise.

(Updated - June 30th, 11:08pm EDT) At this point we've been lucky enough to get the two iPhones we've been struggling with getting activated actually up and running. Unfortunately, there isn't one particular solution we can suggest to any of you. Both are live now as a result of one thing and one thing only:Â persistence.

Each phone took over 24 hours and 10 calls to AT&T to get activated. On almost every call, the AT&T representative on the other end identified some culprit or another holding up the process. We're confident, at least with these two particular phones, that without interaction with the AT&T staff, activation would not have completed.

Be sure to do the following:Â get your order number (even if you didn't get this in email, a rep should be able to give it to you), ask about "holds" on your account, verify IMEI and SIM card numbers, make sure nothing on the account is "awaiting verification". Keep checking your activation status and speaking directly with iPhone activation support.

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Comments

7 HOURS AND STILL NO ACTIVATION, CUSTOMER SUPPORT NUMBER- BUSY, I WISH I HAD SHORTED MY APPLE STOCK. WAIT UNTIL THE MARKET OPENS MONDAY, BOTH APPLE AND AT&T WILL GET THE MESSAGE AND THAT MY FRIENDS WILL BE MORE FUSTRATING THAN OURS.

I'm still waiting!!!!!!!! 11 1/2 hours and counting

The AT&T rep I spoke to said it should take no more than 16hrs, oh that makes me feel so much better!!!! they refused to offer any type of compensation. I'm stuck in the middle without a cell phone, I'm tired of playing with the slider on my IBrick and my old cell does'nt have service. Someone has to be held accountable.!!!!!

One word says it all!

Updated from previous post. Now 10 hours and counting. This sucks. I am taking this useless brick back to AT&T and returning it.

I am now on hour 14... and I got the "your phone will be activated shortly" or is in the process or something like that email at 2 am its now nine here and I started at 7pm last night.. I am an 8 year existing customer so its not like they have to verify anything.. I am simply moving my number.. nothing else. Saturday is my busy client day being in real estate.. guess what NO phone at all.

you call them but all they do is apologize and act SUPRISED that there are so many people are trying to activate at once.. DUH.. they didnt know this?????

for me it goes back on Monday.. this has been a horrid experience and I notice they have taken the phone number off the activation page. so basically with accessories I know own a 700.00 paper weight.

12 hours and still waiting.
Similar disinformation and delay tactics from reps when I call - "a few more minutes" and my favorite "we are activating 30 million phones today - be patient".
Can't use my old phone, can't use my new phone.
I think someone must have misfiled the index cards they use to do business at ATT.

Incidentally, my old phone still works fine. Are all of you sure your old phone isn't working? Or did you read this somewhere and just assume it was true?

Dial your number, hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised as I was.

Got home yesterday at 6:23pm and sent in my request to port my Verizon number to my new Iphone. I got an email immediately stating that my Verizon service would end exactly 24 hours from the time I put in my request to port. Then at 11:45pm, I got a message at stating my number would not transfer. Then I tried to call the number they placed in the email for tech support only to find that my cell phone no longer works-- it's been canceled! A mere four hours after my request to port! And only a few minutes after receiving an email that the transfer will not go through! Put in another request to activate with a new phone number at about midnight. It's 10am...still waiting.

so what are we supposed to do without a cell phone all day? ahhh... back to old days. I have been waiting 12 hours now and it is not acceptable

xopher.. the old phone reads UNREGISTERD SIM no offense but we are not stupid enough to assume our phones are not working.. they are indeed dead

STILL waiting, talked with 4 different departments and still can not activate. Last guy told me "yea I saw an email this mornig that says we are having problems" I have done nothing since 7:00pm last night but try to activate my iphone.

I think I might go purchase some Ky jelly and go back to the AT&T store and "return it"

and then tell everyone one "iRETURNED iT"

I have a "SIM card registration failed" on my old Nokia phone.
I just noticed my personal voicemail greeting is gone too. There is no way for me to change it. I'm stuck in limbo.

11 hours, current phone not working, I-Phone not activating. 2 hours waiting on Att's number, then told "ok, I see the problem and fixed it, your phone can be activated now". Not.

Now, ATT customer service lines are busy. Fortunately, the ATT store opens in 20 minutes, they WILL be refunding in full.

xopher dude if your old phone still works I think you did something wrong.

On phone with ATT activation people now. She told me she could do something to speed up the process for me. Been fighting with this since last night. Porting number from Verizon, got the up to 24 hour e-mail, but phone still not unlocked.

I am told my number has been released from Verizon. Was also told my iphone should be unlocked but it isn't. Something to do with account being created in system, but she is going to enter it manually to speed it up. Guess we will see.

I was scared to switch because I had been with Cingular about 8 or 9 years ago and hated them. So far it doesn't look like much has changed. I hope I don't regret this once I am activated.

FYi
14 Days To Return The iPhone, 10% Restocking Fee If Box Is Opened

for those who plan to return the iphone

Can't wait to see what first bill will look like. I am anticipating all sorts of screw ups if they are having this much trouble just getting started.

I am curious as to where you guys are in the country.. I talked to a very nice supervisor at the number listed last night.. he found out that several sectors have a major back log.. I am in the charlotte, NC market.. so the problem is the local activation... where are you guys.. just curious

try this....
I had been waiting all night for the confirmation email ehich never came.

Just on a whim I completely turned the phone off then back on and plugged back in to the USB

Immediately it started to syn and said I was activated !!! Phone works great now.
Never got the email that many of you might be waiting on.

Try that sequence and good luck! May have just been conincidence buy worth a try

ds

Just got off the phone with ATT. I've been waiting since 7:50 PM Friday night. They said that they are starting to hear from people that their phones are being activated, but that it may take up to 24 hours due to volume.

Been waiting 9 hours on activation. Called AT&T and they say it's Apple's issue and could take 24 - 48 hours. 4 hours in line at the AT&T store, 15 minutes in they said their computers were running really slow so it was taking 5 - 15 minutes per transaction. Then they ran out of 8 gig (had less than 2 dozen). Since no one could tell you when they'd get any more shipments or how long it would take if you ordered it I opted for the 4 gig. If I'd know that it would take 48 hours to activate (not even sure if that's realistic) I would have waited the 2-4 weeks for the 8 gig or driven 3 hours to a city that had an apple store. How frustrating after spending $500 .

Never been a MAC coolaid drinker but have had 2 IPods and love them. Always thought if nothing else Apple was probably one of the top 5 countries in the world from a marketing strategies standpoint but I'm beginning to wonder!? If this is an AT&T issue why the heck didn't Apple just buy a wireless network? If it's an Apple issue I'm dumping my stock on Monday am!

Smartblond, I am in SC. So it could be localized here. I know when getting my phone yesterday they couldn't do any in store credit verifications. Eventually they just stopped trying.

Been activating since 7:45pm yesterday. It is now 9:45am.
I called AT&T yesterday, they said the carrier wasn't releasing the number. I contacted Verizon Wireless. They said that they hadn't even received a request for a port. They actually conferenced in with AT&T and talked to them. AT&T said that the extreme volumes were probably the issue and that everything on their side was completely shut down. They couldn't do anything and had been just sitting there unable to process any ports for hours. They said just to wait and it should go through eventually.
So, I called this morning after 9am when the call center opens. The AT&T rep said that they know about the long time and that it could take up to 24 hours to activate. That if it hasn't activated after 24 hours to call them.
Of course, after 24 hours my old phone won't be working anymore I bet.

I've been waiting for over 13 hours. When I called AT&T they said it was an Apple Problem. And as you might have guessed, when I called (800) 694-7466 they said it was an AT&T Problem. In my case, neither my new or old phone works. When I called Apple, they said that even though I am stuck in this activation nightmare, my old phone should receive calls and my new phone should still make calls; neither of which is true. They gave me a Tier 1 Tech Support number (800) 694-7466, but I have been on hold for 1-1/2 hours. Steve Jobs, is this the "Apple Experience"?

I felt ashamed, as a former Apple employee, to stand in an AT&T store line before 6pm opening, only to have them come out and announce they were out of the phone after 20 sales. Ran to the Apple Store got a couple immediately. Did what you've all done and gotten the same waiting error. Spoke to AT&T reps 2x, "we're sorry". This poor experience is so not Apple. They comb every forseeable kink before releases. I'm certain they AT&T are getting bashed by Apple and they are on pins and needles until AT&T resolves. It's much more about customer experience than sales to Apple, though I must say, I'm having a pretty disappointing one. Been waiting 13 hours for this thing to activate and I feel like an idiot having to be the first to have it.

Mark

I already had a number with them.. I am a long time existing customer so if you are in SC which is not far from me he told me we were "sector 35" and there were major local problems.. this carried several of the southern states.

David

I did this every few hours.. sadly I didnt have the success you did.. it still gives me the message I need to wait for email

I am in SE Georgia (Brunswick, if you know where that is).

Still on phone with ATT. She says we are making progress.

Been on hold a lot. Every few minutes asks for information:

First: driver's license Number

Next: ICCID and IMEI

Then: verified rate plan

I at least feel like maybe I am getting somewhere. Of course, they could just be having fun with me.

ATT is horrible.....we are old att customers....we tried to activate on line....could not do it...spent 5 hours on the phone...mostly on hold.....finally gave up.

We decided to start a brand new line...we are hoping att will consolidate the new line to our old account ......

IPHONE is awesome......better than teh hype.......

CITIZENS....persevere......its worth the hassle.....

HEY IPHONE FANS! AS LIKE MANY OF YOU ALL I WENT TO A CINGULAR STORE YESTERDAY IN NEW JERESY AT AROUND 5:15 AND WAITED IN LINE WITH ABOUT 30 PEOPLE. FINALLY AT AROUND 6:45 I WAS ALLOWED IN THE CINGULAR STORE.AFTER PURCHASING MY IPHONE I CAME RIGHT HOME AND ACTIVATED IT. FINALLY 5 IN A HALF HOURS LATER AT 11:30 MY PHONE ACTIVATED AND BELIEVE ME IT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!! BELIEVE ME IF YOUR IPHONE IS ACTIVATING IT IS WORTH IT!!!!!!

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