Start time: 6/29/2007, 9:59 PM EDT
Finish time: 7/1/2007, 3:54 PM EDT
Elapsed time: 41 hours, 56 minutes
What it took: A woman named Dina in activations support who crossed the line into customer care to get someone to set my account correctly. Dina is a modern day hero. (Apparently the multitude of other folks who confirmed my account was set up correctly were wrong.)
I’m a four-year AT&T customer. My reward for loyalty is a 40-hour-and-counting wait to have my iPhone activated.
I had a faint fear that attempting to migrate my current AT&T account to my iPhone would cause problems. I decided I wanted to keep my phone number and chose to play optimist.
At this point I’m white-hot-angry and am pretty sure the reason I’ve waited this long is an account problem. On my last call to AT&T I was told they “need additional information,” and the gentleman who helped me indicated there was some sort of billing stop. Sure enough my recent bill was not yet paid. This was because I’m an auto pay customer and the payment date had not yet hit. He assured me paying my bill would get my iPhone activated.
So, to recap: my four years of loyalty, flawless payment history, and willingness to let AT&T deduct my funds automatically each month seems to have placed me at the bottom of their list of supported activation scenarios.
I paid my bill and am on hold again.
It’s been about 16 hours since my Nokia 6822 went dead. I’m phoneless while I wait for my beautiful doorstop to activate.
I started the process at about 8:00 last night. At about 10:00 I was informed “iPhone activation requires additional information.” The problem was my “old AT&T” rate plan was “not compatible with the iPhone.” (It would have been nice of the AT&T provisioning system had determined this before it allowed the activation to proceed.) I called AT&T and was quickly moved to an iPhone plan. (The nice woman answered the phone on the second ring–that’s right, no wait.) There was then some stressful confusion wherein I was instructed to remove the SIM card so I could determine its number, which we later learned was unnecessary given the number is printed on the box. I read her the number and my Nokia died almost immediately, dropping our call.
I don’t have a home phone, so I scrambled and was finally creative enough to remember I had some unused Skype time. I called back on my PowerBook and was assured my activation was in queue. I was told I could take my iPhone with me (unplugged from the cradle) and it would come to life whenever the activation took.
16 hours and two calls later the iPhone is back in the cradle and nothing has happened. AT&T is quoting up to a 48-hour wait for the activation to complete. I told my family I’m unreachable via phone.
So, I waited in line for four hours to pay $600 for a cell phone that has taken 16 hours and counting to activate. I’m not alone in this:
It’s funny, as I was preparing to pick up my iPhone I started to feel pretty good about AT&T. They built Visual Voicemail, they’re allowing activation via iTunes (no annoying store wait!), and I have to admit the rate plans seem completely reasonable. How did they miss on this? Were they the only folks in the country who didn’t know how popular this device was going to be? I expected more.
So, I’ll continue to wait and I’ll demand a refund of at least one days’ worth of service. Such is the curse of the early adopter.
Note to Apple: If AT&T can’t activate these things in a timely fashion, at least allow the core functionality to work for a few days before activation is required. It will make life a lot less stressful on everyone, including AT&T.
It’s still not activated. Story to follow, maybe.
Here are pics from yesterday.
I hopped in line at (near) the Fifth Avenue Apple Store a little after 2:00. The line wrapped from the south side of the store to Madison and about halfway around the other side of the building onto 59th Street. I was about the 300th person in line.
I met some cool folks–Matt, Michael, and Jowannu–and later, their friend Kit. They were nice enough to hold my place in line when I went on an extended, fruitless search for a Starbucks. (I just needed a bathroom–I gave up and used Bloomingdales.) I’ve never been so many blocks in New York City without seeing a Starbucks.
As we started to do the math it seemed pretty clear everyone in line would get one and that the wait wouldn’t be long once the store opened at 6:00. I was right about the wait and based on the stacks of iPhones I saw I’m pretty sure I was right about availability, too.
Still, somehow I’ll probably always have happy memories of having waited in line for one of the first iPhones. I know it’s just a consumer electronics product, but it grabs me. Given the lines everywhere I wasn’t the only one affected by its charms.
Considering the good company, the general excitement, the regular doses of interviews and creative marketing, and the watering and feeding (Apple folks brought us water, a very nice touch), the four-hour-plus wait flew by pretty quickly.
Apple must have enlisted store employee they had. They clapped for us outside, and they clapped for us as we came down the stairs. My modest inner cynic thought myself above enjoying it, but truth of fact I did. It’s nice to celebrate something special to you in the presence of a bunch of folks who also excited by it, even if that thing is ultimately just a consumer product. “Happiness is…owning the iPhone” says an Engadget article today. It was a good afternoon.
I’m looking at Engadget’s nice summary of the lines across the country today as I impatiently wait for my iPhone to activate. The friendly, competent AT&T rep (I’m serious on both counts) told me the the queue is quite clogged, so I don’t know when the activation will complete. I won’t sleep till it does.