Mobile // Mobile Devices
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10/14/2011
12:48 PM
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iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations

New owners of the Apple iPhone 4S are reporting difficulty activating their smartphones on the AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless networks. Who's to blame?

The Apple iPhone 4S went on sale at 8AM Friday morning in markets around the globe. In the U.S., people lined up by the thousands hoping to get the iPhone 4S on opening day. Crowds were largest at Apple's retail stores, though lines have been spotted at AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless stores as well.

Once the phone is purchased, owners need to activate it through iTunes. As has happened in years past, it looks like AT&T's servers aren't quite up to the task of handling thousand and thousands of new iPhone 4S activations all at once.

A quick Twitter search shows hundreds of complaints from iPhone 4S owners who are unable to successfully activate their new handsets on AT&T's network. While the phone can still be used (for watching movies, or listening to music) when not activated, the activation is necessary to make and receive phone calls, as well as to send text messages. Activating the phone is what ties that particular device to a user's account.

But wait, AT&T is not alone, not at all. In fact, Sprint iPhone 4S customers are reporting trouble activating their handsets, as well. According to a Twitter search for Sprint activations, plenty of users have been unable to activate their handsets and get them up and running on Sprint.

[ Are IT leaders losing the RIM religion? See RIM And Apple: Mobile Agony And Ecstasy. ]

Same goes for Verizon Wireless. Reports are surfacing on Twitter that Verizon's activation servers are running slow and/or have crashed. However, the number of people complaining about Verizon-related activation issues is far less than those reporting issues with AT&T and Sprint.

It was suggested to me by someone with knowledge of the situation that Apple's servers are most likely to blame for the problems. An employee at one of the three major carriers who asked not to be named told me in an email, "Yes, my IT people aren't happy. The activation issue is out of the Apple stores ... on all carriers."

Sprint followed up to say that the problems are not theirs, either. Spokesperson Michelle Leff said, "Sprint currently has no systems issues and no internal process issues that should impede device activations."

Whichever party's servers are responsible (cough, Apple?, cough), the activation issues speak to the sheer volume of people out buying new Apple smartphones today. Analysts have predicted that Apple may sell as many as four million iPhone 4S units during the opening weekend. Considering that more than one million fans pre-ordered the device for delivery today, and it sold out of first-day inventory at AT&T.com, Sprint.com, and VerizonWireless.com, Apple could have a very big weekend, indeed.

The iPhone 4S has a dual-core 1-GHz A5 processor; 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, and 1080p HD video capture; HSPA+/CDMA, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0 radios; Siri personal assistant, and iOS 5. It maintains the same size, shape, design, and appearance of the iPhone 4.

The 16-GB model costs $199, the 32-GB model costs $299, and the 64-GB model costs $399.

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sswaney200
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sswaney200,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 12:01:00 AM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations

I just sent the iPhone 4S back. I had nothing but problems. 2 hours on the phone with ATT to activate. Belkin tech support was very responsive could not get the 4S to connect to my new N750 wireless router. My old iPhone3S connected just fine.

When I went on Apple Express Support for help, I found out that my first available call back appointment would be next Friday or Saturday (Express???).

So I tried to call and was put on hold for 60 minutes and the call appeared to be forwarded but it only rang endlessly for another 30 minutes. I finally hung up and returned the phone.

I figure I wasted about 8 hours trying to get the the "wonder phone" to work - with no support from Apple.

BTW the ATT support was excellent both on-line with the return and in-store getting the new SIM care to re-activare my old 3S. Score ATT 95% Apple 0%. That's reversed from what it used to be.

Apple does not need to sell things that do not work and that they can't support.
nbwine
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nbwine,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2011 | 3:06:43 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
I walked into the apple store in Littleton, co and walked out with a perfectly running 4s on AT&T in 30 minutes. Only problem is having trouble attaching to my audi's bluetooth. Phone is awesome the apple store's staff was friendly and helpful, there was so much positive vibes in that store, even though Apple and us had just lost the father of the iPhone.
big4mat
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big4mat,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2011 | 12:13:07 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE!! when I hooked it up to Itunes. It gave me too options!! 1) Setup as new device and 2) setup from backup. I chose the backup from my iphone 4...then a hour later it was still working after I had napped!! Me, and Beth went to eat at El Chico's and while we was eating, I noticed that all of a sudden I could not make phone calls or nothing else, it was dead saying welcome to verizon yada yada lol When i went home I looked at the 4S and it was setup, and I made a call and it went through so if you chose backup in stead of a new device I guess it goes all the way through by itself!!
landmarkcm
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landmarkcm,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2011 | 7:19:34 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
Still waiting ugh :) Hope mine goes smoothly w Sprint
pabarge
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pabarge,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2011 | 6:55:02 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
AT&T customer here. IPhone 4S arrived like clockwork (yay, UPS). Just like clockwork, *UNABLE TO ACTIVATE*.

What now? Call AT&T? Riiiiiiiiigggghht.
JWo1855
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JWo1855,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2011 | 6:38:24 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
I get that it's a cool phone and all, but I don't understand why so many people stand in line to get one.

http://thelifeofjwo.wordpress....
landmarkcm
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landmarkcm,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2011 | 6:27:12 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
um ok so you deleted my comment. I just said you dont need itunes to activate the new 4S in most cases its all done on the phone. Wow afraid of your article being slightly off are we..
landmarkcm
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landmarkcm,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2011 | 5:52:48 PM
re: iPhone 4S Buyers Frustrated With Activations
The new 4S is supposed to over the air activate on wifi at least w out the need to go through itunes in most cases... Unless your swapping phones etc.
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