iPhone 3G S activation delays: ‘some time,’ 3 hours or 2 days?

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An iPhone 3G S waiting for ‘some time’ to become activated on the AT&T Network. Credit: David Sarno / Los Angeles Times

The iPhone 3G S certainly arrived on time, but some owners of the new phone eager to start voice controlling, video recording and just enjoying their new gadgetry had their instant gratification put on hold.


In some parts of the U.S., AT&T’s activation systems were experiencing delays on newly purchased iPhones, including the older 3G model, whose price was lowered to $99 recently.

A message on the screen of phones straining to be recognized by the network read: ‘Waiting for activation. This may take some time.’

We called an Apple iPhone customer service representative to help us with our own activation (see picture above). She cautioned that, after the initial online setup, consumers might have to wait hours for their phone to find the network.

‘We just got an e-mail saying, ‘Please advise customers that there could be 2-3 hour delay in activation’ of the phones,’ she said, explaining that the glitch was ‘due to an absolutely huge volume of phones that went out today.’

‘Evidently we’ve sold more phones than we thought we were going to sell,’ she said. ‘It’s taking AT&T longer than we thought it would take them to get all these phones set up.’

Apple’s media relations team did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

CNET reported that some users are receiving a message noting that activation could take ‘up to 48 hours.’

The activation delays closely resembled a similar source of user frustration from last summer’s launch of Apple’s 3G model.

However, an AT&T service representative suggested that repeatedly cycling the power on a new phone might speed the activation process.

We used this method and, whether it made a difference or not, our phone finally jacked into the network. And it took only two hours.

-- David Sarno