iPhone Letdown

iPhone Letdown


It's late on Sunday night. My kids are asleep and baseball highlights are airing on the TV in the background. I'm taking a look at the AT&T emails that gave me so much consternation during my iPhone activation. Over 36 hours after I made my iPhone purchase, my iPhone is finally working.


The problem involved my service plan. I was already an AT&T customer, and as I've written here before, my previous phone was a pathetic piece of hardware. The plan I had with the old phone was just as pathetic - 45 local area-only minutes per month, no holdover minutes, no data, no SMS, and not many other frills. I exceeded my alloted minutes four times in the eight years I've had the plan. (My mobile phone conversations usually consist of, "Hi, I'm going to the store. Need me to pick up anything? OK. Bye.") This plan cost $20 per month.


This old plan isn't ever offered by AT&T anymore, or at least I couldn't find it on AT&T's Web site. As it turns out, the $20 plan doesn't work with the iPhone. But I didn't find that out until it was too late. When I asked the AT&T rep at the AT&T store if my plan would be compatible, she said she thought so. She didn't say yes. She didn't say definitely. She said, "I think so."


It wasn't. That triggered my decent into iPhone hell.


I'm not going to go into the details of my tech support calls. I spent over five hours total on the phone, mostly on hold. Was hung up on once. Every person I spoke to was friendly, nice, and tried to do the best they could, considering the circumstances. One phone rep said to me when I asked how his shift was going, "Stuff just blew up."


I was able to upgrade my plan, but I was told my phone would take at least 24 hours to activate. I decided to put aside my iPhone and go have some fun at a San Francisco Giants baseball game - at, where else? AT&T Park.


Where did I go to escape my iPhone blues? AT&T Park, the home of the Giants.


Sunday morning. I hoped the calls died down at AT&T. I spent 28 minutes on hold before I got a representative who could rescue my iPhone. Apparently, because I had to make a few adjustments to my plan, I was put in some sort of account limbo. The rep said if she canceled my current activation request, I would be able to start the activation process over again, and that my phone should work in a few minutes. It seemed too good to be true.


"Are you sure it'll work?" I asked. While I was at the Giants game, it occurred to me that perhaps starting the activation process over again would fix my problem. So my question was more out of surprise than skepticism.


"Yes. It will work. Let's do it," the rep said. She confirmed my mobile number, and canceled my request.


I waited 15 minutes to make sure AT&T's computers could do their thing. Then I tried to activate my iPhone. Again. It worked.


Ever since, i've been in iPhone heaven. I told my wife that I want my iPhone surgically attached to my arm. It's awesome.


As for my activation experience...hey, I review products for a living. I always expect things to not work, and with possibly hundreds of thousands of people buying iPhones at the same time, I knew that I had a good chance of having something go wrong. But I couldn't help but feel letdown and disappointed.


I take responsibility for my situation. I could've done more research to see if my plan would work or not. Had I asked more questions before the release, I could've had my iPhone minutes after I bought it.


That's not to say AT&T and Apple are off the hook. I'm not the only one who had iPhone activation problems. The two companies could've done a better job explaining what plans are and are not compatible with the iPhone.


In the end, my iPhone works. And I'm happy.




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I am hoping that this kind of mess up on the iPhone will not happen now. I am planning to have oe but now i think my Nokia mobile is better also it is easy in handling and moreover that i have my MP4 music collection on it.



$20 bucks a month? Who needs 1,000 minutes if you're not going to be on the phone much?

That was a great emergency cell phone plan. Now you can never get that back.

Also, you could've bought the iPhone at the Apple Store or online and not activated it but used it for Wifi and Pda functions and pay as you go if you really needed the phone part.



Um, maybe some of you should have paid better attention to what plans were supported by the iPhone. I went to Apple's website and found a quick and easy list of supported plans. The same was true od AT&T's website. In both cases, the link to plan outlines was displayed prominently on either the front page or the page featuring the iPhone. Not only that, but every single preview, review, public statement, and news item I saw about the iPhone mentioned the supported plans...or at least that it only supported some plans. It took me all of about 10 seconds to find what I was looking for. Don't blame Apple and AT&T because you blew it. They put the info out there in plane sight. Next time...look before opening your mouth.



It took me 55.5 hours to activate, and nothing was wrong with my account. Every time I talked to AT&T I was told that I was set to go on their end. (and I was, I used my iPhone SIM in my old phone till the iPhone was ready. But when I woke Monday morning, a happy e-mail was waiting for me, and I have been there in iPhone heaven too, it hasn't left my side yet!!!



I'm not going to give you a hard time about the title of your article, but I will say that the finger pointing should be wholly at AT&T. I worked there for a fairly long time, so I can imagine the training that was done to get everyone up to snuff, trickling down from Apple, down through the ranks at AT&T, and unfortunately, you had the bad luck of getting a moron at the store. The plan you had was an AT&T wireless plan, which was no longer offered (except to existing plan holders) once Cingular took over. Had you switched to ANY other phone, they would have made you change it to a bonafide Cingular rate plan. Sure, they're back to AT&T again, but that doesn't mean their old plans are going to come back. As with the transition from AT&T Wireless to Cingular, they've once again made new rate plans, which will replace the Cingular plans (and of course there will be folks with Cingular plans who will go through the same rigmarole in a few years when their current phones expire).

Good lord, that still sounds so confusing. Basically, your old phone still had an AT&T Wireless sim card, which worked on the old AT&T Wireless network. Then came Cingular, and now "The New AT&T" (notice how it's not being called AT&T Wireless again). 3 iterations of essentially the same company, but with each (re)birth, a new platform is created, which is always the one used for (so-called) new service.

At any rate, it all boils down to an idiot store rep, who should have known better, or else gotten a straight answer for you.



With all the info about the iphone out there I'm surprised you didn't at least stop at Apple's website. The plans available were right there in black and white. But I guess it happens to the best of us...



I would echo the others comments about the title of the article, I would of liked to have read the title to be “iPhone Activation Twilight Zone” as it better reflects the clumsy process on ATT's part. I will buy an iPhone later (2nd or 3rd generation) as I have had experience with ATT and Cingular when they merged and it was not pretty. It took them 6 months to get my bill invoice corrected. I get a reasonable discount on my family plan due to being a HP employee. I would actually have to pay more than what I owned for those 6 months. The issues that I have had with Apple over the years don’t even compare in frustration levels in dealing with the phone giants. Roman, I admire you for being honest about the plan that you had before the iPhone activation, as I don’t think you r-e-a-l-ly believed that this plan could cross over to the 21st century :)!



I think you should have read AT&T's website regarding the iPhone. It clearly stated what plans were able only for the iPhone. Apple's website posted the same information as well. Do more research.


Dean Mc

Hey if his article had been entitled ATT letdown

a: No one would have read the article

b: Would not really of come as news to anyone who has had to endure ATT before...




I think 'iPhone Letdown' is a bad title for the article.
Along the lines of what the other message here said, the problem was more to do with AT&T and not the iPhone.

'AT&T Letdown', would be more appropriate, especially since you state that you are happy with the iPhone at the end of the article.



"That triggered my decent into iPhone hell."

Can we clarify, was it iPhone hell, or AT&T hell? Or a lack of user "understanding" of what phone contract was required?

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