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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 447member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 67
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 67
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,742member
    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....
  • Reply 5 of 67
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,742member
    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...
  • Reply 6 of 67
    stokessdstokessd Posts: 103member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 67
    irelandireland Posts: 17,490member
    Not in my country, just called O2.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    timontimon Posts: 152member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 67
    eduardoeduardo Posts: 181member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 67
    akacakac Posts: 510member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    dm3dm3 Posts: 147member
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 67
    dm3dm3 Posts: 147member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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!
    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 marketed?and understood by the general public?as 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.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 67
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    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?
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