AT&T Still Not Activating All iPhone 3G S -- Apple Giving $30 Apologies?


A couple of our readers have written in over the weekend concerned that they still can't activate their iPhone 3G S on AT&T's network. Greg let us know that he was originally assured his Apple Store-purchased iPhone 3G S would be activated within 48 hrs (?!) but now it looks like that's been pushed back another 48 hrs -- or 4 days total.

He forwarded us an email he claims to have received from Apple offering a $30 iTunes credit by way of apology.

Isolated incident or is anyone else experiencing the same problem?

Full text after the break!

Dear Apple Customer,

Thank you for your recent Apple Store order. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delay in your iPhone activation.

We are still resolving the issue that was encountered while activating your iPhone with AT&T. Unfortunately, due to system issues and continued high activation volumes, this could take us up to an additional 48 hours to complete.

On Monday, you'll receive an email from Apple with an iTunes Store credit in the amount of $30. We hope you will enjoy this gift and accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this delay has caused.

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Apple Online Store Team

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AT&T Still Not Activating All iPhone 3G S -- Apple Giving $30 Apologies?


Lol, $30 pay off. Guess it's good I didn't get the 3GS this weekend after all.
The app store is still not running well and barely any updated apps are coming out with new features. I still can't leave a review, just stuck in a loop wanting me to enter my password.

With this latest trouble with AT&T, you have to think Apple is seriously thinking about dropping AT&T as soon as it is possible.

I have to say, arguments about AT&T's suckiness and the 3G S's features (or lack their of) aside, this has been a lack luster release... What are there, about 4 apps so far supporting push notification? I mean, how did Apple not coordinate with AOL to make sure AIM with push was released day 1? The App Store has been virtually down since 3.0 came out... it works, but it's slow. My phone has locked up more in the 3 days since I got 3.0 than it did in the 3 months I've had the phone. I've experienced a few bugs that are easily reproducable (not sure where I go to report bugs to Apple), etc. Why does it just seem that Apple is incapable of getting iPhone releases right?

This is why I like Rogers. They activated it in store for me ad handled everything. I was texting and browsing as I was walking out the door

I bought and activated my 3GS at the AT&T store instead of Apple store. The activation then was a breeze (literally took less than a couple minutes). The AT&T employee helping me said the exclusivity contract is up at the end of 2010. Hopefully Apple will wait another 1.5 yrs before putting out a new hardware update

All the complaing above makes me wonder if some of you makeup this stuff. I have been a long time AT&T Blackberry customer with no problems. Now I change to the new iPhone and have had zero problems. I reserved it at an Apple store and once I had paid for the phone it was activated in less than 2 minutes. As a MobileMe user already I had my contacts, over 1500, and calendar in about 5 minutes. For all the people who had a great experience I am sorry for those few of you with problems.

My 3GS activated in 35 seconds at 2030 hrs CDST 6/19/09. My son's 3G activated in 55 seconds at 2230 hrs 6/19/09 . Go figure

I had a lot of problems activating my iPhone 2G when I first got it. it turned out that my zip code was wrong in AT&T's system. I had to change it myself on their website as a customer service rep who said they changed it didn't do anything.
I wonder if perhaps the people who had problems got marked in at&t's system and will be automatically fixed ta some point, and that's the big deal? of course that's still at&t's fault.

I tried activating Friday night at 11:30pm. 12 hours later and still no service. I decided to go to my local Apple Store to see what was happening. They were activating phones immediately. I showed a genius my phone and he thought the SIM card was fried. I went to my local AT&T store and was issued a new SIM that was activated immediately. Now the messed up part, I woke up this morning to find no service on my phone. I ran to the car and recovered the original SIM that was supposedly fried and inserted in my phone. I had service again. My question is this: why does AT&T suck so bad and were they giving priority activation to in-store over home. If so, they really suck.

I got the same e-mail from Apple they should do more for us than a 30.00 itunes gift card. 4 days and no service. this is ridiculous!!!!!

I picked up my phone @ Noon on Friday, brand new AT&T customer with a phone number ported over from Sprint. Phone was activated within minutes and number ported in less than 20 mins. No problems for me. =)

I purchased my phone from the Apple online store and attempted to activate it myself on Friday evening. I also got the activation delay message from ATT. I decided not to sit idly by (I've been at ATTs mercy before, plenty of times), so I called the Apple support line. She first told me she couldn't do anything, ATT was closed (!?, right?), then located an after-hours number. THEN she called this number for me, and waited until we started talking to someone (the ATT hold was longer than Apple's 7 or 8 minutes). Thankfully, the ATT rep/tech was friendly, smart and helpful (surprise!). There said there were several issues preventing activation, amongst which not having a text plan selected (yes, I selected one when I made my purchase). He also needed to get some numbers from the phone; the IMEI and ICCID #s.
After about an hour, my phone was functioning. I'm elated, as it's my first iPhone, after years of coveting and regretting my Razr upgrade when the first iPhone came out. I've been an ATT customer for years (DSL, landline, cable for a while), so I'm numb to the abuse they regularly dole out to their customers.
If anyone would like that ATT "after hours" number, it's 800-801-3600. May you reach the same skilled, friendly techs I did.

I ordered one phone online to be delivered & reserved one to be picked up at the apple store. I was happy to received my hubby's phone (his father's day present) on 6/19. When I tried to sync it, it restored all his info from his 2g iPhone, but no service. I went straight to the At&t store on Sat morning, & within 5 minutes got it working.
I tried to pick up mine at the store, but was turned away because they said they stopped activating phones at 6pm. I was given a ticket & told to come back on Sat. to get it. I didn't understand! The local At&t stores were still activating phones in their stores, but apple couldn't?
All in all, a very disappointing experience. Two years ago, we had absolutely no problems activating our phones at home. Apple & At&t has had at least 2 releases to get it right, yet they got it wrong again!

Wow I just woke up like 2 min ago and saw this same email! I'm happy they atleast gave us some cash credit, but iTunes credit? I mean come on! I want an apple store credit to buy leather couch not music! But then again, I can use those $30 for when the Tom Tom app comes out! Nice one AT&T I'm still not activated!

Is steve jobs listening? These gafs are really becoming inexusable. I'm gonna wait for the 4g. Maybe by then we will have an alternate carrier and apple will have thier s#!t all together.

I can't start mine up because I have not yet received it! Watched the UPS tracking since the 16th, it left China and got to Kentucky in less than 24 hours. It was then sitting in "exception" till the 19th and then sent to Honolulu, where it STILL sits in UPS, and still needs to ship to Hilo!!! Are they going to do anything to compensate folks like me? My money went out on this from the day it was ordered, and only did so because of the "promised" delivery on the 19th. BAD PLANNING!

It's called "patience", Dawn. You order something, it takes "time" to arrive. When I ordered my 3G when it released, it took 3 weeks to arrive. Plan on waiting!

No issues here!
Bought a 32 GB iPhone 3GS this afternoon at the Willowbrook Mall in NJ Apple Store (only store in the area with 32GB iPhone 3Gs in stock today). NO ACTIVATION issues at all. New iPhone 3GS was activated in 1 minute, MobileMe calendars, contacts and email in 1 minute and I was out of the store!


Why is Apple paying for AT&T’s ignorance?

I'm betting Apple is pissed enough at ATT that they insisted ATT buy those 30 dollar bribes ^h^h^h^h gift cards, and rather than giving ATT the option of adding a free month of data service (which costs them NOTHING) Apple forced ATT to do it in a way where at least some portion will flow directly to Apple's bottom line.
Its pretty easy to see who wears the pants in that relationship.

I had the delay after trying to activate on Friday, so I swapped in my old iPhone 2G sim and was ready to go (making sure to take my new sim & the sim tool with me).
Sunday morning, I got the $30 apology mail, and about 15 minutes later, I got the mail notifying me that my new iPhone was activated (also, the old sim was now inactive). I swapped sims and was ready to go again!

I bought my iPhone from the online Apple store. I'm a new AT&T customer from T-Mobile and I didn't select a text plan. Fedex delivered my phone Friday afternoon, and it was activated in no time. In fact I was amazed at just how easy the whole process was. I expected to have issues since I was transferring service from another carrier.

I bought mine from the online Apple store. After trying to activate it in iTunes, and waiting 24 hours, and 4 phone calls to the AT&T store, I drove 1 hour to Tucson to the AT&T store. They manually removed my old SIM card info, then put in the new info into their system. It immediately started working. I received an email from Apple today letting me know it was activated.

I also did the sim card swap.I have the new sim on the old 2g in my car incase my old sim in my 3Gs gets disactivated. I just feel for those who had no cell phone at all and was waiting for their new iphone to be activated.

So I purchased my 32GB 3GS from the Apple Online Store. Arrived on time, tried to activate on Friday, got the "48 hour" message. Called AT&T on Saturday, they pushed me to Apple who pushed me back to AT&T who pushed me to an AT&T store. Went to the store, they gave me a new SIM, corrected the data plan issues (no Enterprise) and everything worked ok. Today, got an email from Apple saying my phone was activated and it had no service. Went back to store, new SIM card, reset my data plan, all works. Earlier this week, AT&T seemed to "forget" that I even had a 3G iPhone and I couldn't get anything to work. The people in the stores are great, the phone support, sucks. I can't believe they are still having issues like this.

@Adam S. - He is correct. I have two new iPhones. I tried to activate my wife's phone on Saturday and 24 hours later, still in process. I went to the ATT activation site to see if that would help and I was able to activate both of our phones within 5 minutes. Everything works as planned.

The AT&T after hours number is actually 866.801.3600...
and I've called AT&T tonight after waiting for my iPhone 3GS (which I ordered from activation. The operator asked for my IMEI #, and Sim card # and I waited and waited and waited and fought over minutes on my plan from a change I had made last week and then it was done. At 11:11 CDT on Sunday Night!

I had the 48 hour wait, so after 3 hours of waiting, I put in the SIM from my old WinMo phone on the line that I was replacing. That made the phone work, but neither the iPhone data nor the Visual Voicemail features worked, so I called and the friendly operator activated them in no time. The next day, I noticed Visual Voicemail and Data had stopped working. I also had an e-mail from Apple notifying me that my iPhone had been activated, so I replaced the old SIM with the new one, and it all worked again. Sort of a pain, but better than a 24+ hour wait.

My iPhone has been saying "waiting for activation. This may take some time" since Friday the 19th!!! This is ridiculous! SHAME on you ATT for putting your loyal customers through such hoops!!!

shut up every one att and apple agreed together to give people who had the problems $ 30.00 itunes credit which can be used for buying apps and music for up to $30.00 for the iphone

On Sunday morning I received the original e-mail stating that I would be getting a credit e-mail on Monday, but I have yet to receive the actual $30.00 credit e-mail. Has anyone received the e-mail with the $30.00 credit yet? I'm wondering if I won't get it because I was able to activate my iPhone late Sunday afternoon.

It's actually both AT&T and apple. The iTunes activations are going through correctly and some people have to redo them 3 or 4 times before it works. The servers are overwhelmed. I wouldn't blame just AT&T because it's both's fault.

no I haven't received the $30 credit and I also got the email from apple. I remember the email saying on Monday, maybe by the end of today we should get it, who knows if not I'll bitch will I get an extra $20 lol jp

Oh one other thing!
I'm tired of hearing people bitch about att and apple!
Apple sold 1 million iPhones during the wknd and to activate all during the wknd is alot to handle. What phone provider is ready to handle 1 million activations? This is the first time something this big has happened so give them a break.
And this is coming from someone who was affected till this morning

Agreed with DMan and anyone else who has said it. While we blame the third parties for not keeping up with Apple, I think it's partly Apple's responsibility to keep its partners at its side. Just like a racing does no one any good of one car wins by 5 laps, while the rest of the team comes in last place.

Thank the jailbrakers for this issue because I think before you could activate your iphone thru itunes .

While taking, my new 3Gs has just gone black and cut off my conversation. Also when I go to delete my call, screen goes black and I can' t get the phone to come back on for a few minutes. Since no one else has reported this problem, I guess I will have to take it to the Genius Bar.

Elaine - just bought the new 3Gs. Exact same problem - black screen talking on phone, etc. - happening to me.Please post what you find out from the genius bar. DT

Attempted to activate my phone yesterday, was able to get iTunes, WiFi, etc setup, but no voice service! It simply says "No Service" - it's been about 18 hours thus far and my other phone from which I'm upgrading from has now been taken offline. Frustrating!

Its cuz AT&T online website sucks and you can active your current phone (not your new 3G) if you're a current AT&T customer then it borks up and locks up and tells you to contact customer service. Then you call customer service and get the run around b/c they're using the site.
And apple's server side is bombarded by millions of new iphone users registering by itunes.
AT&T people:
Get your Iphone. Charge it for 3 hours. DO NOT, Don't throw away the box like Miryiam did, and take out the trash on trash day. No and No.
Call the handy activation number (800 no). Give them the serials and 411 they ask. At most, activation takes an hour. Boom and Zoom. You're good 2 go. g2g.
The problem is if your old phone broke and yall thought the intronet activation was hunky dory like mine . . . you have to vulch a phone from someone.

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Apple and Verizon will announce and launch the current Iphone 4 in early 2011. Apple will also anno unce the next Iphone which will launch on AT&T in June/July and Verizon will get that version 6 months later being a 4G LTE model but whatever the plan is Verizon will have the Iphone in their lineup.Messed with a Sammy galaxy tab yesterday at best buy looking for something smaller than my iPad. I couldn"t get over how laggy the web browsing experience was on it. I love refinement. And Andriod just isn"t there yet. Some people love it. But I won"t even consider it until they fix that. Its horrible.Sorry haters. His old Sirius contract for $500,000,000 expired and this is 5 years later. It"s bound to be more money now. This might bump him into billionaire status. Also Sirius picked up 1.2 million subscribers when he inked the first deal. All paying between $10-$17 a month. Insane amount of money.