AT&T iPhone Activation Hell
Update: Ok, I’ve officially changed the headline on this blog post to AT&T; iPhone Activation Hell.
Well, my new iPhone still is not activated. I’m on hold right now with AT&T; and will blog the whole process. At the Apple store I was told that I didn’t need to do anything with the phone except take it home turn it on and plug it into iTunes.
So earlier this morning when I turned it on it did not go on. No problem, but it might be nice to ship with at least enough battery juice to do the activation. So I charged up the phone.
About an hour later I plugged the phone into my MacBook Pro and opened up iTunes (I’d already installed the new iTunes upgrade yesterday). iTunes immediately recognized my phone and then had me go through a series of steps, agree to the TOS, agree to pay $20 for the data plan, etc. When I entered in my existing AT&T; phone number it informed that I already had an account, had me verify the last four digits of my SS# etc.
So far so good.
But then when I thought I should be finishing activation I got a message that said that it could not activate my phone and that I would receive an email back notifying me when my phone had been activated.
I also received the following confirmation email message from Apple/AT&T; at 10:42 a.m.:
“AT&T; is now processing your activation. You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete.”
By 2:30pm I still had not received my activation email so I decided to check my junk mail folder to see if maybe it was in there and it was.
In my junk mail folder was the following message timed at 12:02pm:
“We’re sorry. AT&T; has identified a problem with the information you provided.
For more information, call 877-800-3701.
Please refer to your Activation ID when calling. (816XXX) “
So I called the number. The number asked me to press or say 1 if I had an activation ID which I did. The good news is that the call was promptly answered by a human being. So this person asked me which of my phone numbers I was calling about (I have two phone numbers with AT&T; on a family plan, one for me and one for my wife). I gave her my phone number and she told me that the SIM chip in my phone was incompatible with my phone number.
She wanted to make sure that I put the sim card that came with my iPhone into the phone. I told her that I wasn’t aware of any chip that was supposed to go into this phone and said that at the Apple store that they just told me to go home and hook it up to iTunes. She ensured me that there was a chip that was supposed to go with my phone and that it should have been included in my box. I disagreed again whereby she told me that she had been doing these activations all day and that there was indeed a chip I needed to put into my phone. I asked her where the slot was to put the chip in and she said she thought it was on the left side of the phone. I couldn’t find any place to put a chip. So she put me on hold again and came back and said that she was going to need to submit a trouble ticket.
She said that the trouble tickets were being dealt with pretty quickly though and that she thought in the next few hours that my phone should be activated on its own.
I should mention that throughout this, the customer service woman from AT&T; was very polite and nice.
So that’s where we are now. The phone still isn’t activated. I’ll check it again in the next few hours and if it’s still not activated I’ll call back again.
6:26pm Update: Ok, so it’s been a few hours and the iPhone still has not been activated. Nor have I received additional correspondance from Apple or AT&T.; I’ll try to phone them again a little latter on tonight after I have the kids down. Kristopher is telling me that there has to be a way to hack around the activation screen but so far even he hasn’t figured that one out.
6:36pm Update: Just tried calling AT&T; again and went through the same push 1 call transfer thing. This time though I actually sat on hold for about 5 minutes and then all of a sudden my phone call was disconnected from AT&T.; Will try to call back again.
7:26pm Update: Ok, just spent 33 minutes and 14 seconds on the phone with AT&T.; This time the customer service rep told me that the problem with my account is that my bill on my AT&T; account is in arears. The thing is that this account is paid by auto-debit every single month and it is not in arears. So the activation person said she could not do anything for me until I took care of this balance (less than one month’s service by the way). So she transferred me to AT&T; customer service where I could get this issue cleared up. Unfortunately after going through the menu associated with AT&T; customer service message I received a message from them telling me that they were closed and would not be open until Monday. So it may be until Monday that I can activate my iPhone. We are going to call them back and try the activation people again. Kristopher is here with me at my house for this and we are broadcasting it live on ZooomrTV. Well see where it goes this time.
8:19 Update: Ok, we just sat on hold for 55 minutes. After 55 minutes we were disconnected on the phone. We are not deterred though. We are calling back again. Live on ZooomrTV.
8:24pm Update: Sat on hold for 5 minutes and then got a message saying that due to uncontrolable high call volume that we’d need to call back later.
8:25 Update: Couldn’t even get through. Got an immediate “due to high volume” message. Dialing back again. I have more resolve than the AT&T; robot. We WILL win!
9:14pm Update: Finally got a hold of someone from AT&T.; Apparently my activation can’t take place because my wife has too old a phone. I have to order a new phone for her in order to activate. Apparently they can activate me now, but it will kill her cell phone and we have to find a new phone online for her in the future (and apparently I have to pay for a new phone for her as well). This person said that my number would likely be activated in the next two hours.
11:15pm Update: Still no activation. Trying to call AT&T; back.
12:39am Update: Just spent over one hour on hold with AT&T; and my house phone battery died. Disconnected. Damn! Just called AT&T; back on a fresh battery. Will keep trying until we get this damn phone activated. Broadcasting it all live on ZooomrTV.
7:43am (Sunday) Update: iPhone is still not activated this morning. Going to try and call AT&T; back right now and see what’s up.
7:53am (Sunday) Update: There is only a voicemail on the iPhone activation line asking me to leave a message. Will have to try back again later.
8:49am (Sunday) Update: Been on hold now for 26 minutes and 4 seconds waiting. Steve Rubel is having a hell of a time getting his phone activated as well.
9:23am (Sunday) Update: The comedy of errors continue. Was on hold for about 32 minutes when someone came on the line to help me. After giving her all my inf
o she said that she wasn’t allowed to help me and that she’d been instructed to transfer me to something called Telegence. I’m not sure what Telegence is, but maybe my account’s been flagged at this point to get extra nice customer service or something. She told me that I’d need to wait about 9 more minutes to talk to Telegence. She also gave me their direct number to call back in case I was disconnected 877-777-4192. I waited about another 15 minutes and finally heard someone else come on the phone and say “hello?” I answered back “hello.” And then he said “can you hear me?” And I said “yes, can you hear me?” And he said “yes” and then I said, I need some help activating my iPhone and then he say “Oh, man, I’m a customer too. I thought you answered to help me!”
So we commiserated a little bit. He’d been on hold for about 45 minutes and both decided that the best thing to do at this point was to try and call back. grrrrr. I’m calling this Telegence number back now.
9:36a.m. (Sunday) Update: Ok, I’m on the phone right now with an AT&T; person. I have to say that that Telegence number I was given *rocks* You go straight to a que to be answered by a live person. No pressing 1, no anything. Unfortunately the Telegence person couldn’t do anything for me. She said I may have to wait until later on tonight. Kristopher thinks we should try and call Apple care support or something so we are going to try them next.
10:01am Sunday Update: Just got off the phone with Apple Customer Care. They are actually blaming AT&T;’s servers. They are saying that when I put my iPhone in the base that it actually pings AT&T;’s servers to make sure everything is ok. So the problem is probably that there is some sort of glitch or something with AT&T.; He said to keep waiting. I think that’s all I may be able to do at this point. I suppose if it’s not activated by tomorrow I might be able to actually walk it into an AT&T; store and see if I can make better progress.
Update: Just took an Engadget poll that says 38% of people are having a problem activating their iPhones. Unscientific of course, but interesting nonetheless.
12:26pm Sunday Update: Just called Apple customer care back again. They transfered us to Apple iPhone internal second tier and then second tier transferred us back to AT&T.; This has now taken 57 minutes on this call. AT&T; tells us that there is a department at Apple though to deal with this and she is trying to connect to them. She just came back and said that she was going to have to try and contact another area at Apple. Apparently, according to this person, the iPhone must remain in the docking station the entire time in order to be activated.
She also disputed the previous agent who said that my wife’s old phone was incompatible with the family plan. We are on hold right now while she tries a third department at Apple.
5:07pm Sunday Update: Mission accomplished! The iPhone is activated!