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iPhone 3G buyers may be able to complete activation at home

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Prospective iPhone 3G buyers are waiting on Apple and its wireless partners to provide more clarity on the required activation procedures for the new handset given official but confusing statements on the matter thus far.

In a bid to curb the market for unlocked iPhones, which are typically purchased in quantity from Apple or AT&T stores in the US and then unlocked and resold at higher prices overseas, AT&T has said it will require iPhone 3G buyers to activate the handsets at the point of sale.

"The way that these phones are going to be sold is that they are going to be activated in the stores," Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, said during a conference call with analysts last week. "So, we're going to need to have all the criteria that someone would need to have in order to get a phone and qualify for a 2-year contract."

Apple's first-generation iPhone released last June was sold without those requirements upfront. Instead, customers were able to purchase the device off the shelf as they would an iPod or piece of software, then take it home and activate an account with AT&T through Apple's iTunes software.

de la Vega said the new "fraud prevention" measures "will significantly mitigate" the risk to AT&T that grey marketers would be able to purchase the greatly subsidized handsets from the carrier and then turn around and unlock them from the AT&T network, resulting in an estimated $200 immediate loss that AT&T would be unable to recoup.

For the same reasons, there's been no announcement regarding online sales of the iPhone 3G in the US through either AT&T or Apple. At the same time, however, a couple of official statements suggest that it will be possible to complete activation of the handset at home, which would be welcomed news for those would-be early adopters who've begun to fear long lines and hefty waits at the companies' retail stores on July 11th, the first day the device is set to go on sale.

Specifically, Apple in its UK press release hinted that activation outside of retail stores will be possible, stating that in addition to O2 and Carphone Warehouse retail stores, "iPhone 3G will also be sold online through O2 and Carphone Warehouse." When responding to questions on what other measures AT&T was taking to prevent unlocking, de la Vega in the aforementioned conference call similarly indicated that not all iPhone 3G units would be fully activated during the point of sale.

"Without getting into details of the contract [with Apple], there are penalties if the phones don't get activated in the first 30 days, or if they are returned in the first 30 days, that we're working with Apple on," he said.

Providing possibly the best window into how the activation process will work was an internal AT&T Mobility memo issued last week and obtained by AppleInsider. It suggests that customers may be able to leave a retail store without a fully activated iPhone 3G, but only after having signed their intent to adopt a new 2-year service agreement and iPhone data plan with proper identification. This information would immediately make its way into AT&T's systems along with the IMEI number of the new iPhone 3G, allowing the customer to complete activation at home via iTunes if they so chose.

"The new 3G device will be activated in store in both AT&T and Apple stores. Customers must accept AT&T and Apple Ts & Cs, sign a 2-year agreement, and select the data plan for the iPhone 3G before leaving the store," the memo says. "The current iTunes activation process will no longer be required for iPhone 3Gs, however a short tether process to unbrick the 3G device will be performed in all AT&T stores (tether cords will be provided). Apple stores will also perform this tether process, however in the event that a customer's device is not tethered in the Apple store, their device will be inoperable until they get home and tether through iTunes. Prepaid and Pick Your Plan will not be allowed on the 3G device."

The memo added that AT&T's "SSK has been modified to allow customers interested in the iPhone 3G to enter their information, select rate plans and data plans, and print a document that will allow COR reps to quickly access the customer's information in OPUS and save time for data entry in the activation process."

In other words, customers may be able to agree to terms and select a new rate plan at home before July 11th, and then print and bring with them on July 11th a document that AT&T and Apple reps can quickly scan and verify before handing over a new iPhone. This would speed up the first-day sales process and function similar to the $100 iPhone credit coupon offered following last year's iPhone launch.

Both Apple and AT&T are expected to provide the public with a clear set of policies and procedures for iPhone 3G activations closer to July 11th.
post #2 of 68
So how many of you who are current owners are upgrading? I'm frankly not impressed with the new features. I have the Gen1 phone, and I want my front camera. Waiting till the next rev...
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This information would immediately make its way into AT&T's systems along with the EMI number of the new iPhone 3G, allowing the customer to complete activation at home via iTunes if they so chose.

Did you mean IMEI code?
post #4 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

So how many of you who are current owners are upgrading? I'm frankly not impressed with the new features. I have the Gen1 phone, and I want my front camera. Waiting till the next rev...

I'm a Day One iPhoner and I'm upgrading to 3G on 7/11. I couldn't care less about which direction the camera faces.
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

So how many of you who are current owners are upgrading? I'm frankly not impressed with the new features. I have the Gen1 phone, and I want my front camera. Waiting till the next rev...

This update works for me. If I can scrape the $$ together (and justify it), I'm in.
What I was looking for was:
--3G
--better battery
--real GPS
--3rd party apps

Got it, kinda got it, got it and gonna get it....
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post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post

I'm a Day One iPhoner and I'm upgrading to 3G on 7/11. I couldn't care less about which direction the camera faces.

Yeah, Mobile video chat would be cool for a few minutes, I guess, but it doesn't factor into my buying decision in the least...
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post #7 of 68
I've got a 16gig one. The GPS would be handy, as would the 3G, but frankly there's not that much compelling me to upgrade rather than wait. It's not like I can tether the phone and use it with my laptop (oops a hole in the software). So it will always be a bit of an awkward surfing experience on such a tiny screen, so being awkward and a bit faster isn't keeping me up nights.

The software was the biggest disappointment, the glaring holes (MMS, flash, spam filtering, IM, adblock, cut and paste, tethering, the list goes on) haven't been patched. If you aren't on an exchange server the only thing of substance is the app store in 2.0.

Sheldon
post #8 of 68
Not in my country, just called O2.
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post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

So how many of you who are current owners are upgrading? I'm frankly not impressed with the new features. I have the Gen1 phone, and I want my front camera. Waiting till the next rev...

Just sold my iPhone on ebay. Now I can buy a 3G iPhone for me and my wife with the money I got for my 1st generation iPhone. However, I am really worried that they won't let us keep our family plan.

That's what really happens when people abuse the system. Because of those who hacked their iPhone we all lost the convenience of having our iPhone activated at home.
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

I've got a 16gig one. The GPS would be handy, as would the 3G, but frankly there's not that much compelling me to upgrade rather than wait. It's not like I can tether the phone and use it with my laptop (oops a hole in the software). So it will always be a bit of an awkward surfing experience on such a tiny screen, so being awkward and a bit faster isn't keeping me up nights.

The software was the biggest disappointment, the glaring holes (MMS, flash, spam filtering, IM, adblock, cut and paste, tethering, the list goes on) haven't been patched. If you aren't on an exchange server the only thing of substance is the app store in 2.0.

Sheldon

As SJ once said regarding iChat on Windows "Have to let MS make money". All what you are asking for can be easily done by 3rd party apps. I guess we will see Apple release less and less features for the iPhone to encourage developers. The only problem I see is tethering which I believe is AT&T's restriction not Apple's.
post #11 of 68
Why can't Apple sell the phones online with an activation of the contract online when you buy?

So:
  1. I go to the Apple Store Online
  2. I select the model/color of iPhone I want
  3. I select the AT&T plan I want to activate
  4. Complete the purcahse, Apple sends my information to AT&T
  5. iPhone arrives in the mail, deactivated.
  6. I plug my iPhone into my computer, open iTunes, login to my Apple account, and BAM - my iPhone is activated.

That would be a simple, fast, and elegant solution.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Just sold my iPhone on ebay. Now I can buy a 3G iPhone for me and my wife with the money I got for my 1st generation iPhone. However, I am really worried that they won't let us keep our family plan.

That's what really happens when people abuse the system. Because of those who hacked their iPhone we all lost the convenience of having our iPhone activated at home.

Why would you even think that you can't have the new iPhone on a family plan? Did you EVER see anything said that you couldn't?

Don't worry, you can be sure that iPhone will be allowed on Family plan along with Family Plan unlimited SMS messages for $30 and all of the other standard optional services. There is no way that AT&T is going to leave families out of the picture as it accounts for a HUGE part of their business.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Just sold my iPhone on ebay. Now I can buy a 3G iPhone for me and my wife with the money I got for my 1st generation iPhone. However, I am really worried that they won't let us keep our family plan.

That's what really happens when people abuse the system. Because of those who hacked their iPhone we all lost the convenience of having our iPhone activated at home.

I'm eagerly awaiting the new Family Plans. The last one for the first generation iPhone was decently priced...AT&T haven't put anything in writing so far.
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post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Why can't Apple sell the phones online with an activation of the contract online when you buy?

So:
  1. I go to the Apple Store Online
  2. I select the model/color of iPhone I want
  3. I select the AT&T plan I want to activate
  4. Complete the purcahse, Apple sends my information to AT&T
  5. iPhone arrives in the mail, deactivated.
  6. I plug my iPhone into my computer, open iTunes, login to my Apple account, and BAM - my iPhone is activated.

That would be a simple, fast, and elegant solution.

That is what it sounds like they are going to do.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eduardo View Post

I'm eagerly awaiting the new Family Plans. The last one for the first generation iPhone was decently priced...AT&T haven't put anything in writing so far.

Family plans are the same as the current family plans for their regular phones. iPhone is no longer its own special beast. The only unique thing is that you are required to get a data plan. The data plan choices are standard as well, $30 for consumer data plan, $45 for enterprise data plan.

What additional clarification are you expecting?
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Why can't Apple sell the phones online with an activation of the contract online when you buy?

So:
  1. I go to the Apple Store Online
  2. I select the model/color of iPhone I want
  3. I select the AT&T plan I want to activate
  4. Complete the purcahse, Apple sends my information to AT&T
  5. iPhone arrives in the mail, deactivated.
  6. I plug my iPhone into my computer, open iTunes, login to my Apple account, and BAM - my iPhone is activated.

That would be a simple, fast, and elegant solution.

Agreed. I don't see why they shouldn't allow online purchase. That would greatly relieve the lines. Have they really said that there will be no online sales? ... or did they say there would not be any PRE-sales. Maybe they will allow online sales at launch.

I'm worried how long the line might be the first few days and if there's potential to run out.

I wonder if the lines will be any shorter at AT&T stores vs. Apple stores. Looks like its only AT&T corporate stores that will carry it, there aren't that many around. Could still be a zoo.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac View Post

That is what it sounds like they are going to do.

But I said Apple Store ONLINE. That wasn't implied in the article.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eduardo View Post

I'm eagerly awaiting the new Family Plans. The last one for the first generation iPhone was decently priced...AT&T haven't put anything in writing so far.

This isn't confirmed but I'm about 99% sure that:

The iPhone can be added to any family plan for the standard $9.99 per additional line, and a minimum $30 data plan will be required with that line.
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

So how many of you who are current owners are upgrading? I'm frankly not impressed with the new features. I have the Gen1 phone, and I want my front camera. Waiting till the next rev...

You're in luck!
http://gizmodo.com/5015395/apple-int...ncing-kit-zomg Seriously though, now that 3G is coming Apple is in a bit of a conundrum with the next upgrade. They can make the 3G chips 14.4MB and add HSUPA, but it's still marketedand understood by the general publicas 3G. So next year I expect a front-facing camera, high res main camera, more Flash (though that may come at the 6 month upgrade cycle), and a higher resolution display.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Not in my country, just called O2.

So O2 in the UK is giving it away, but in Ireland they are screwing you... again?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

All what you are asking for can be easily done by 3rd party apps.

Cutting and pasting across apps with a robust Clipboard may not be possible according to the rules of the SDK since the apps are sand-boxed. Hopefully Apple is working on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Why can't Apple sell the phones online with an activation of the contract online when you buy? [...] That would be a simple, fast, and elegant solution.

Or even selling them through the iTunes App Store which will be part of iTunes 7.7.
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post #20 of 68
Quote:
de la Vega said the new "fraud prevention" measures "will significantly mitigate" the risk to AT&T that grey marketers would be able to purchase the greatly subsidized handsets from the carrier and then turn around and unlock them from the AT&T network

Why is this fear still defining their US activation policy? Where are these 'gray markets' after Apple unleashes the iPhone in 70 countries around the globe?

When v 1.0 was released people bought them in quantities with the intent of exporting them to other countries, usually at a huge price increase. Now people can soon buy the iPhone locally in many of those same countries. The big exceptions will be Russia and China, and if someone wants to import iPhones there they will most likely buy legitimately-unlocked units in nearby countries where carrier locking is illegal. Only people with no business sense will bother buying them in the US.

So why is AT&T being so obtuse about this?
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Why can't Apple sell the phones online with an activation of the contract online when you buy?

So:
  1. I go to the Apple Store Online
  2. I select the model/color of iPhone I want
  3. I select the AT&T plan I want to activate
  4. Complete the purcahse, Apple sends my information to AT&T
  5. iPhone arrives in the mail, deactivated.
  6. I plug my iPhone into my computer, open iTunes, login to my Apple account, and BAM - my iPhone is activated.

That would be a simple, fast, and elegant solution.

that's what you do on other sites, i.e.: Amazon.

What is lame atm there is no unlocked version. GSM is around for ages and all the subsidized phones can be purchased unlocked at a higher price. And they want to sell more and compete with Nokia?
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

Family plans are the same as the current family plans for their regular phones. iPhone is no longer its own special beast. The only unique thing is that you are required to get a data plan. The data plan choices are standard as well, $30 for consumer data plan, $45 for enterprise data plan.

What additional clarification are you expecting?

My contract with Verizon expires end of June... So i was planning on switching to AT&T the first of June... signing up and getting myself a free $200 phone. THEN when the IPHONE comes out July 11th.. heading over the the apple store and buying myself an IPHONE for $199.

So i get a free $200 backup phone out of AT&T without any contract extension.. well a 11 day extension. I heard the cell companies can't extend contracts beyond 2 years.. they can't tack on 2 more years and make it a 4 year contract.

Anyone else know if this is true? Will AT&T hassle me if i take advantage the way I plan to?
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

So why is AT&T being so obtuse about this?

I spoke with AT&T sales rep this past weekend. She is under the impression that even with the 75+ countries it will be sold in that there will still be a couple hundred countries that won't have direct access to it (including China and Russia) who will create the grey market again. She is also under the impression that the weakening US dollar and additional charges for exporting may make the US iPhone cheaper than the local retailers can sell them at.

I think AT&T is being paranoid, but I have not run the numbers yet to verify if that is possible.
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post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Why is this fear still defining their US activation policy? Where are these 'gray markets' after Apple unleashes the iPhone in 70 countries around the globe?

When v 1.0 was released people bought them in quantities with the intent of exporting them to other countries, usually at a huge price increase. Now people can soon buy the iPhone locally in many of those same countries. The big exceptions will be Russia and China, and if someone wants to import iPhones there they will most likely buy legitimately-unlocked units in nearby countries where carrier locking is illegal. Only people with no business sense will bother buying them in the US.

So why is AT&T being so obtuse about this?

Some peopel want just a phone and stay with the same provider and use on-the-go plan. they don't want to have a service provider for 2 years or pay penalties for early termination.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmm221 View Post

So i get a free $200 backup phone out of AT&T without any contract extension.. well a 11 day extension. I heard the cell companies can't extend contracts beyond 2 years.. they can't tack on 2 more years and make it a 4 year contract.

This is an issue with current iPhone owners on AT&T right now. We are not eligible for the subsidized rate at this point.

But you would be in a whole different class that would be financially unsound for AT&T. One, you are under a brand new contract with a subsidized phone so you aren't up for an upgrade. Chances are, you'd would have to buy your way out of your contract or you'd have to buy the iPhone in full before moving to it. My suggestion is to not take that chance.
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post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Prepaid and Pick Your Plan will not be allowed on the 3G device."


If you look at http://www.o2.co.uk/iphone you'll see they are offering (soon) a Pay & Go (prepaid) version of the iPhone 3G in the UK.
post #27 of 68
I have two iPhones (family plan) and was planning to give one to my son and get the 3G for myself. However, I was reading on Engaget that you can't have both on the same plan (pricing will change) and if you try to re-register the old iPhone, it kills the cell phone and your left with an Ipod.

What gives?
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post #28 of 68
Quote:
This is an issue with current iPhone owners on AT&T right now. We are not eligible for the subsidized rate at this point.

this is not true. Current iPhone owners can buy the new iPhone for the $199 price.

What the other guy described won't work. If he buys a subsidized phone in June and then plans on buying the iPhone 3G, he'll run into problems.
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by joek View Post

this is not true. Current iPhone owners can buy the new iPhone for the $199 price.

Do you have a source link for this? I've been told by Apple and AT&T that they have not decided how they will handle current iPhone users.
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post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Do you have a source link for this? I've been told by Apple and AT&T that they have not decided how they will handle current iPhone users.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0...ref=technology

Quote:
Because the first iPhone was sold without an upfront subsidy, current users are welcome to buy a new $199 or $299 3G iPhone.

But there are catches. First, they will have to agree to the new $30-a-month data plan, replacing the $20-a-month plan associated with the first iPhone models. Also, they will then be locked into a two-year contract and, as with most subsidized cellphones, they won’t be able to upgrade to a new phone at a subsidized price until their contract nears expiration.

Note the "lock in" is typical for any subsidized phone.

also from AT&T Memo
http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2008/...anted-to-know/
Quote:
If you are an existing iPhone customer in good standing, you will be able to extend your contract for two years when the iPhone 3G launches and get the ill-na-na $199/$299 price point. Doesn’t matter when you bought an iPhone either.
post #31 of 68
Very simple, stop the greed and sell the phone two ways. 8GB No activation = $400, activation = $200.

Done Deal. Want to hack pay more.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by joek View Post

this is not true. Current iPhone owners can buy the new iPhone for the $199 price.

What the other guy described won't work. If he buys a subsidized phone in June and then plans on buying the iPhone 3G, he'll run into problems.

What problems could i run into....?

Personally... since it'd be less than 2 weeks after I purchased my "subsidized" phone... I personally think it's worth the risk. Worst case scenario.. is they'd make me return my original phone before I could purchase the IPHONE.

Don't you have 14 days to return a phone anyway to AT&T?

Until AT&T just admits that they are truly subsidizing the IPHONE to customers.. instead of "secretly" subsidizing the IPHONE... I think anyone could take advantage in the way I described above...

And it's already been announced that current IPHONE owners can upgrade to the new IPHONE for $199.

Then again, I do understand I'm taking advantage of the system AT&T set up more than they imagined possible...
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by joek View Post

also from AT&T Memo
http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2008/...anted-to-know/

Excellent! The AT&T memo I read only had...
Upgrade Eligibility and Qualified Upgrade Pricing
Upgrade eligibility will be determined based on standard upgrade eligibility rules. Customers must be upgrade eligible to receive the qualified upgrade pricing. However, not all customers will be qualified upgrades. AT&T has not determined the price of the 3G device for non-qualified upgrades. and not...

"Note: When the 3G device launches, all active postpaid customers in good standing with a 2G iPhone will be eligible to receive the qualified upgrade pricing for a 3G device regardless of service tenure. (Customers that would not otherwise be eligible due to tenure will be made eligible at launch)."

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post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmm221 View Post

Worst case scenario.. is they'd make me return my original phone before I could purchase the IPHONE.Don't you have 14 days to return a phone anyway to AT&T?

You can do that. But consider the potential restocking fee and/or activation fee. If you are over the return date you will be stuck one way or another, so be careful to know exactly when you have to return it by.

Quote:
Until AT&T just admits that they are truly subsidizing the IPHONE to customers.. instead of "secretly" subsidizing the IPHONE... I think anyone could take advantage in the way I described above...

There is nothing secret about it. AT&T and Apple are now using the traditional subsidization method. That has been made clear. The first iPhone used profit sharing. It's still the AT&T paying the manufacturer but the terms were different. That was made clear, we just didn't know the amount.
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post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmm221 View Post

My contract with Verizon expires end of June... So i was planning on switching to AT&T the first of June... signing up and getting myself a free $200 phone. THEN when the IPHONE comes out July 11th.. heading over the the apple store and buying myself an IPHONE for $199.

So i get a free $200 backup phone out of AT&T without any contract extension.. well a 11 day extension. I heard the cell companies can't extend contracts beyond 2 years.. they can't tack on 2 more years and make it a 4 year contract.

Anyone else know if this is true? Will AT&T hassle me if i take advantage the way I plan to?

I'd also like to know if this is a viable plan. Does anyone have insight on this?
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Prospective iPhone 3G buyers are waiting on Apple and its wireless partners to provide more clarity on the required activation procedures for the new handset given official but confusing statements on the matter thus far.

This sentence doesn't make any grammatical sense.


Quote:
"Without getting into details of the contract [with Apple], there are penalties if the phones don't get activated in the first 30 days, or if they are returned in the first 30 days, that we're working with Apple on," he said.

Penalties if we return the phone?!?

Quote:
It suggests that customers may be able to leave a retail store without a fully activated iPhone 3G, but only after having signed their intent to adopt a new 2-year service agreement and iPhone data plan with proper identification.

Under what circumstance would someone walk out of the store WITHOUT a phone?
post #37 of 68
If you already have an iPhone and AT&T service, shouldn't you be able to just insert your current SIM card into the new iPhone and have it work?
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

If you already have an iPhone and AT&T service, shouldn't you be able to just insert your current SIM card into the new iPhone and have it work?

yes, it will. but it has to be activated first, just like any other phone you get from AT&T. i.e., you have to fill out the paperwork, extend/start a new contract, etc...
post #39 of 68
so what happens to my family plan when i get the new 3G and my wife stays on the old EDGE iPhone?
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbofus View Post

This sentence doesn't make any grammatical sense.

A comma or two would have been nice, but it did make sense. There are some issues about the iPhone's activation procedure still up in the air.

Last week they announced that you had thirty days to authorize it or be charged an assumed full price for the device, but then there were conflicting statement that accounts had to be authorized in Apple and AT&T stores.

Quote:
Penalties if we return the phone?!?

Like with most consumer electronics, there is a restocking fee. If it's been unopened that may be waved, but if you've used it or played with it within that 30 days time frame before returned prepare to be charged 10%, though that is speculation.

Quote:
Under what circumstance would someone walk out of the store WITHOUT a phone?

I'm not sure where you interpreted that as "walking out of the store without a phone." It merely stating that Apple and AT&T may do quick tying of the phone (via the IEMI number) to your AT&T account or CC so you can leave quickly with the device and authorize it with iTunes when you get home.

This method seems easier with people who already have AT&T accounts setup. The tying to a credit card and then trying to charge double the price later on if it's not activated doesn't seem like a workable solution. So both of the methods mentioned above may in fact be true, but depend on if you already have an AT&T account or not. We shall see...
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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