Apple Caused iPhone 4S Activation Issues?

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iphoneTales of activation problems on all three U.S. carriers were widespread yesterday. An InformationWeek article claimed that the problem was not with the carriers, but instead was on Apple's end -- specifically with iTunes activation:

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."

An article on iSource.com claims Apple had a "system issue" around 11:30AM Pacific time that affected activation of all iPhones.

Regardless of the difficulties, it seems iPhone 4S launch day was a success for Sprint, AT&T and Apple -- though Verizon oddly didn't announce any launch-day sales figures -- with most customers getting their activation issues worked out, eventually.

Top Rated Comments

kleinias Avatar
121 months ago



Verizon just got the 4 not that long ago so would not be surprised by their lower sales. Also their original launch was underwhelming. I think people who use their phones with data need a faster network thus Verizon rules the faux smartphone android market where the average user only uses a tiny fraction of data of an iPhone user.

I'm unsure that any of what you wrote is actually accurate at all (rather surprising considering your forum username). First, I was under the impression that Verizon's iPhone 4 launch was reasonably successful. Next, I've used an iPhone 4 (and now 4S) on both Verizon's and AT&T's network and the consensus actually seems to be that both networks have their faults.

Verizon's network is superior when it comes to coverage and consistency and AT&T's can offer superior data speeds when you have a good connection. It seems quite unlikely that any of that really has to do with why folks get an iPhone or Android phone on Verizon's network (or AT&T's for that matter). I mean, wouldn't a persons first guess be that a lot of folks have Android phones on Verizon because Verizon didn't offer the iPhone until fairly recently.

Lastly, I fully realize this is a Apple-centric forum and I'm an iPhone (and Mac) user (and I've never owned an Android phone), but calling Android phones "faux smartphone(s)" makes you sound as petty as when they say the same thing regarding Apple products.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haydn! Avatar
121 months ago

Android does not have this problem, nor does SE, nor Nokia. It is the operators pure and simple.


But when has Sony E, Nokia or any single Android handset maker attempted to active 1million+ handsets in a single day?

I think if you take into account the scale of the iPhone launch, to expect no problems at all is a little unrealistic. Apples servers are more than capable of handling everyday usage, but product launch days like this are just a handful of peak days per year.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wordoflife Avatar
121 months ago
The customers don't care who caused the bottle neck. At the end of the day, the customers are going to point their fingers at the carriers.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Finiksa Avatar
121 months ago

You are missing the point when you buy a Nokia or Samsung phone it works out of the box. There is no activation process. This all part of Apple desire for control that this process even exist.

That's not true, Nokia and other phones are locked in the factory and have carrier specific firmware installed in the factory. iPhones are identical and unlocked out of the factory, they're locked to a carrier (if at all) during activation.

Other phones also need to be activated, specifically GSM SIMs (usually while removed from the phone) and CDMA ESNs however this is done by the carrier in store or at the carriers office before shipping the phone. With iPhone you have the ability to do the activation yourself at home (theoretically).
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
minik Avatar
121 months ago
I spent 3.5 hours (from 8:15AM to 11:45AM PDT) yesterday with 2 different Apple Store employees, 2 on-site AT&T employees, and 3 phone calls with AT&T just to get one iPhone 4S. I'm already an AT&T customer with an iPhone 4, but I wanted to port my other T-mobile number to the new iPhone 4S. The SIM card inside the iPhone 4S was bad too.

It kept on going through the re-activation loop and I saw 8 different phone numbers under my name. The store employee told me to come back (today) and let the system clean out my records.

I came back to the store this morning and a new Apple employee tried to handle my problem which wasn't the best. Anyhow, I hunted down the worker who handled my case yesterday. We all stood right next to 3 AT&T employees with their laptop and doing all kinds of return/purchase/return/activate/re-activate, 90 mins later I walked out with the iPhone 4S.

I just let them do their 'job' without being angry at them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tranceme Avatar
121 months ago

You are missing the point when you buy a Nokia or Samsung phone it works out of the box. There is no activation process. This all part of Apple desire for control that this process even exist.


Wrong. Not all Samsung phones come ready and activated. You're broad statement is incorrect. And, the process is different depending on the carrier. Heck, on Sprint, Epic requires going through a few steps. I agree that phone should be ready to roll.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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