Activation Problems: Who is Dropping the Ball? AT&T or Apple

After reading through Engadget and Gizmodo about Apple and AT&T stores having no luck with activating iPhone 3Gs, I am glad I downloaded the iPhone 2.0 firmware and updated my first-gen iPhone, yesterday. Apparently, Apple’s iTunes-based activation servers are down. This is quite unusual as Apple should have learned from its troubled launch just one year ago when activation slowed to a crawl after 6PM on June 29, 2007.

Or maybe it isn’t just Apple’s fault.

I’m sure iTunes can handle millions upon millions of transactions per day, per hour, per minute, you get the idea. The iTMS has been doing that for many years without a hiccup. And based on that experience, it was no real biggy when they promised a 15 minute activation process. My guess is that the iTMS has to interface with some AT&T servers for activation. I think that’s where the problem is. The core of the problem is probably with AT&T’s activation servers.

iPhone 3G Happy Customer
Image courtesy:

I haven’t heard of any activation service outages from other countries such as Australia, the UK, Japan, etc. They all had to use iTunes to activate. You might be thinking that there is simply less demand for iPhone 3Gs in these countries. To that I would like to refer to O2 selling out its preorder stock in just about 3 hours. Granted we don’t know exactly how many that was, but my guess is that the demand was quite a bit more than anything O2 had experienced before. And no reports of hiccups today (it is 7:07PM in London as of this writing). So, it seems to be that Apple might not be dropping the ball on this one.

If you have read reports about shoddy 3G and voice services in the Northeast areas in the US, you might be thinking along the same lines. David Pogue lives out there and when he was testing his new iPhone 3G, he had intermittent connection problems. He called AT&T and told them the exact locations and the good folks at AT&T simply replied saying, “They looked into it and told me they know of no reason why you shouldn’t have had anything but good coverage along that stretch of road, so it’s hard to figure out why you didn’t get service.“. I can almost feel David Pogue’s magma-generating frustration at that moment when he heard those words that simply did absolutely nothing to help the situation.

I’m sure AT&T is telling iPhone 3G customers: “Um. It’s hard to figure out why the activation service is not working.”

Articles regarding iPhone 3G activation problems:
Gizmodo: Apple and AT&T Stores Having Difficulty Activating iPhones (UPDATE: It’s the iPocalypse)
Engadget: iTunes activation servers go down, iPhone 3G customers being sent home unactivated, first-gen iPhone customers stuck with dead iPhones

[tags]Apple, Apple iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G Activation[/tags]

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