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Rush of iPhone 4S activations forces some on AT&T into holding pattern

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Some customers attempting to activate their new iPhone 4S on Friday encountered server problems, and were met with a message in iOS 5 stating their activation was "pending." [Update: Some activations now "unavailable."]

Those users who cannot activate have apparently had their attempt placed in a queue, as the iOS 5 setup notification states that the user will receive an e-mail notification when their pending activation is completed.

The problem appears to lie with AT&T's activation servers, as a number of customers have reported difficulty getting their iPhone 4S up and running on the carrier's network. Friday's launch marks the first time in the U.S. that a new iPhone has debuted simultaneously on carriers other than AT&T, with Verizon and Sprint joining the fray.

Some customers on AT&T reported being stuck in the activation process for hours on Friday. The situation is particularly frustrating as the new iPhone 4S cannot be used, and its new features like Siri cannot be tested until the device is activated.

Update: Later Friday, some users began receiving a new error message: "iPhone activations are unavailable at this time." It states that the system is "unable" to process any new activations, and users are advised to try again later (see screenshot below).

Activation issues with a new iPhone on launch day with AT&T are not new. For example, in 2009 Apple warned users that activations of the then-new iPhone 3GS could take up to two days.

Previously, activations were accomplished by plugging an iPhone into a Mac or PC via USB and completing the process through iTunes. But the new iPhone 4S comes preinstalled with iOS 5, which allows for PC-free setup and activation directly on the device.





Friday's launch of the iPhone 4S is the largest debut yet for a new iPhone model. In addition to being available on three carriers in the U.S., the new device is also available in Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany and Japan. Apple's stores opened at 8 a.m. local time to begin sales, drawing crowds around the world.
post #2 of 64
Yikes! I guess it's not such bad thing after all that mine hasn't gotten here yet. Still, I wish UPS would hurry its ass up already!
post #3 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDevil View Post

Yikes! I guess it's not such bad thing after all that mine hasn't gotten here yet. Still, I wish UPS would hurry its ass up already!

I had no problem activating mine...

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post #4 of 64
I flagged down my UPS driver, and like the rest of AT&T I am in the "holding patern". \
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post #5 of 64
Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?
post #6 of 64
I love that Apple and UPS can deliver millions of these on day 1, but AT&T, our network provider, can't properly load balance servers.
post #7 of 64
AT&T sucks. That is all.
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post #8 of 64
http://wireless.att.com/activations

went there and it worked fine.

restarted my iPhone and it found service
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?

Who want's to wait in a line for a droid? Far more iPhones are actived in one day than droid has in several days after a new release.
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post #10 of 64
This afternoon is going to be very interesting as people get home and unwrap their new 4S.

(unless there are instructions to the contrary) My plan is to download only iOS 5. Then after the sw pkg is validated, as a second step, I'll then upgrade her existing handset to iOS 5 first.

Then backup the existing handset via a wired sync, and then upgrade the software on the existing handset.

Only then do I plan to activate the new 4S. Mixing "activation" and "data migration" feels like too much as one step with this level of connectivity errors/timeouts.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazinlwfl View Post

http://wireless.att.com/activations

went there and it worked fine.

restarted my iPhone and it found service

I tried that method and got this error:

"ACT005: We apologize for any inconvenience. iPhone users must connect to iTunes to activate service. All other users click here to register your mobile number and update your new equipment. If you need further assistance, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-331-0500."
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post #12 of 64
Got mine about an hour ago-- it's on Verizon. No hitches whatsoever. Love it. Siri rocks.
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post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALR26 View Post

I tried that method and got this error:

"ACT005: We apologize for any inconvenience. iPhone users must connect to iTunes to activate service. All other users click here to register your mobile number and update your new equipment. If you need further assistance, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-331-0500."

Very odd - I did mine just hours ago. It let me complete the set-up process (over wi-fi) and then when it said "No Service" at the top I tried to make a call and it wouldn't work (611 neither), I went to the email AT&T sent me and followed the instructions. It worked perfectly.
post #14 of 64
Have one 4s registered this morning, the second one still has not been able to register. Sucks. I wish they would have at least saved your information to make it easier to resubmit your request. Small price to pay.
post #15 of 64
Ya' know...

How much of a technology breakthrough would it take for Apple and the carriers to develop a "pre-authorized" system...

Much like you can make 911 calls on an unauthorized phone, why couldn't you have a limited amount of voice and data available, out of the box?

This would eliminate:

1) in-store delays to open and authorize the phones.

2) millions of day-1 hits on the carriers servers rippling through the Internet around the globe

3) long lines, extra employees, extra time for each transaction

4) customer dissatisfaction -- I bought it, paid for it, waited for it, got it... but I can't use it!

(all I really want to do is play/talk with Siri).


In fact, a really classy, customer-oriented setup would be for the carrier to call your phone to permanently activate it, OTA, when its server activity permits a fast activation.

'course, that would be the logical way to handle it...

(Mine's still on the truck for delivery)
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
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post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?

No, the servers were able to handle all 12 of you.
post #17 of 64
I'm not sure that the problem is with AT&T and I suspect it is Apple's servers that are causing the problem. When I got the error I called AT&T, gave them the IMEI for the phone, and they activated it. However, the iPhone still requires going through the activation wizard, which I assume hits the Apple servers, so I'm stuck.
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?

What does it mean: "major Android phone release"?
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post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by writhe View Post

I'm not sure that the problem is with AT&T and I suspect it is Apple's servers that are causing the problem. When I got the error I called AT&T, gave them the IMEI for the phone, and they activated it. However, the iPhone still requires going through the activation wizard, which I assume hits the Apple servers, so I'm stuck.

What is the "activation wizard"?
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post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

What is the "activation wizard"?

When you turn on your iPhone 4S, it asks a series of questions (ex. language, country, billing zip code, etc.) much like an installer for a program on your computer before contacting remote servers. While it's trying to contact the servers, it displays a message the basically says, "Trying to activate the phone. This process may take up to three minutes."
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?

Guess the major Android phone release wasn't so 'major'

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post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

What is the "activation wizard"?

'Wizard' is the Microsoft parlance for what Apple calls an 'Assistant'

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

'Wizard' is the Microsoft parlance for what Apple calls an 'Assistant'

Ahhh.....

Like this:

"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
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"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
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post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ahhh.....

Like this:


Liar, we all know this is the real Windows Wizard

post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALR26 View Post

Who want's to wait in a line for a droid? Far more iPhones are actived in one day than droid has in several days after a new release.

I'd rather wait in line like a droid than wait in line for a Droid.

Actually, TTTT, waiting in a line to buy a new telephone seems, well, kind of strange to me. Unless you are in a Soviet-style era of shortages or something. Concert tickets? The good seats sell out fast. But for something a lot like what you already got and that is being produced in unlimited numbers?

Just saying.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorPaul View Post


Only then do I plan to activate the new 4S. Mixing "activation" and "data migration" feels like too much as one step with this level of connectivity errors/timeouts.


Don't worry. It really should just work. I'd do them both.
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

Don't remember any news about AT&T server delay for a major Android phone release. Have I missed something?

On android release weeks it is the customer service people who do returns that are overwhelmed.
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post #28 of 64
I spoke with AT&T. Surprisingly enough it's NOT AT&T this time. They transfered me to Apple and they admitted that their serveres were down. Solution: Wait.....\

Best luck!
post #29 of 64
I just tried that like 5 minutes ago and it wouldn't work for me.
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post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJPeak View Post

I spoke with AT&T. Surprisingly enough it's NOT AT&T this time. They transfered me to Apple and they admitted that their serveres were down. Solution: Wait.....\

Best luck!

If that's the case, then Eddy Cue in heap big trouble... You Betchum, Red Rider!
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
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- Michael Lille -
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post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

I'd rather wait in line like a droid than wait in line for a Droid.

Actually, TTTT, waiting in a line to buy a new telephone seems, well, kind of strange to me. Unless you are in a Soviet-style era of shortages or something. Concert tickets? The good seats sell out fast. But for something a lot like what you already got and that is being produced in unlimited numbers?

Just saying.

Agreed, Droids are not worth waiting in line for.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

If that's the case, then Eddy Cue in heap big trouble... You Betchum, Red Rider!

Makes no sense that Apple's servers are at fault unless each carrier has a separate lot of servers. Sprint and Verizon customers aren't having any problems, as far as I have heard.

It's got to be AT&T.
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJPeak View Post

I spoke with AT&T. Surprisingly enough it's NOT AT&T this time. They transfered me to Apple and they admitted that their serveres were down. Solution: Wait.....\

Best luck!

Seems unusual. The hangup is in the AT&T activation.

If anything were to go down in this process I would expect it to be on AT&T's end.

Indeed, that's been the case since the iPhone came out.

Note: if it was Apple, there's a good chance this problem would impact iPhones for all carriers.
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post #34 of 64
Went to

http://wireless.att.com/activations

entered info and it told me I had to activate through iTunes ant back to iTunes ant through the process and it activated.

prior to this had tried about 15 times both wireless and through iTunes w/ no success

Seems most likely coincidental but might be worth a try if you are jammed up.

Whats with the Att/iTunes error message ?

Essentially it says wait for our email to confirm activation and then it continues-- try again later.
it either one or the other.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ya' know...

How much of a technology breakthrough would it take for Apple and the carriers to develop a "pre-authorized" system...
)

That's not the problem.

This is in the system that matches the device to that authorization

it's like on Wednesday when folks were saying their iPhone 4 etc was 'bricked' by trying to update to iOS 5. they got through the download and update fine. but the software has to call out to a server that validates the install and flips the last switch on and that server was so overloaded with requests that it took a coffee break on many folks.

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post #36 of 64
I've had the same activation problems as most, but made the mistake of calling AT&T whereupon the representative promptly screwed up the other phone on the account that was working. Then they said the problem with both phones was with the SIM cards and sent me to the local AT&T store for new SIM cards. Of course the woman at the store was an even bigger idiot than the one on the phone.

Lesson learned: Just leave it alone and wait because those idiots at AT&T can screw you up so much worse than you already are.
post #37 of 64
AT&T says it's not AT&T and there's no problems reported on Sprint or Verizon. So, they are either full of it or it bears further explanation.

Anyway, let me be the 5000th person to say this: this is one of the reasons I switched to Verizon. Oh, that, and like my calls are actually intelligible.
post #38 of 64
The activation is done by the carrier. AT&T must be overloaded. It makes little financial sense for AT&T to build out a massive infrastructure necessary to handle these types of spikes. User requests will eventually be serviced and people will complaints will be forgotten (until the next big release)...
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


'course, that would be the logical way to handle it...

There you go again talkin' logic again (with apologies to the Gipper).

Don't let it happen again - ya HEAR ?
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ahhh.....

Like this:


Hey - where's BOB to help us out (how long did "Bob" stick around at Microsoft? That was the first thing I always did when updating my PC's, to get rid of the stupid paperclip thingie.
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