iPhone's Elusive Activation

Activation is proving elusive for eWeek's iPhone, as a legacy voice plan has hamstrung the iTunes-based activation process. 15 hours after completing the purchase, the iPhone remains but a paperweight.

As I reported yesterday, my iPhone activation has run into some snags. Because my voice plan was relatively antiquated (a remnant of the old AT&T Wireless), the iPhone would not activate. Not that I was given an option to choose something different, as I had suspected this would be a problem.

This morning, I called the AT&T support number on the last e-mail from last night. After a relatively short hold (about 7 minutes), I got a live operator. I explained my issue and told her which plan I wanted. She put me on hold for a few minutes, then came back on line and told me I was ready to go. I just needed to reconnect the iPhone to iTunes and go through the wizard again, selecting the option to migrate my existing AT&T phone number.

But once I connected the phone, iTunes gave me the same message as before - that activation required additional time to complete and that I would get an e-mail telling me when everything was ready. Restarting the wizard was not an option.

I explained this to the AT&T representative, who explained that my plan had indeed been updated, but I was placed back in the activation queue. Since all the iPhone buyers from yesterday were getting activated now, it could be awhile.

Well, it has been almost 3 hours since I made that call, and I have not yet received the go-ahead e-mail nor can I do anything with the iPhone.

Now I recognize that yesterday and today are abnormally busy days for AT&T's support and activation resources, but this is getting crazy. I presume the DIY iTunes activation process was implemented in part to alleviate the crush that would come from such a large launch, removing the strain on store employees. Theoretically, a larger number of customers could purchase and activate their devices in a shorter amount of time.

And this may be working for many. But, at least in my slightly abnormal circumstances, the opposite seems to be occuring. 15 hours and 33 minutes after I bought the thing, I still have nothing more than a paperweight.