National iPhone 3G Activation Failure Due To Apple's "Short Tether" System?

When I heard that the iPhone activations were completely borked, I thought, man, that’s what you get for partnering with the Death Star. But from what reader Justin heard from an ATT rep, oh-so-pristine Appple might actually be the one with blemishes. He writes,

According to an ATT rep I just spoke with, the problem is with Apple’s Short Tether system, which is the Apple-side system that does the last part of the activation. I got my $36 activation fee refunded just by calling their customer service, and also had additional $59.50 credited back to my account in addition. I’m pissed that my iPhone isn’t working, but at least I got $95.50 of my iMoneys back!

Then again, that is an AT&T rep. No doubt Apple reps are blaming the outage on AT&T’s “Long Bridle” system or some such thing…

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Japheaux says:

    I am listening to a co-worker on the horn right now with AT&T getting run around. Stood inline and lost his ass only to have to call for tech support and hear lame excuses. i-tard.

  2. goodcow says:

    I waited on line four hours at an AT&T store (65th and 3rd) today, and the rep told me there was a problem porting my number from Verizon and that he’d call me back later.

    Apparently my iPhone is on the side somewhere, already opened, and I have a reference number.

  3. Tightlines says:

    Oh, how I feel for those who camped out to be the first douchenozzle in line only to end up buying a phone that doesn’t work!

    Heh.

  4. darkryd says:

    The problem is neither apple nor ATT’s fault seperately, its theirs as a whole.

    The team up was the worst decision to make in the first place.

  5. humphrmi says:

    I bought an iPhone last year. I figure by the time my two year contract is up next year, they’ll have the kinks worked out and I’ll buy the new one then.

  6. am84 says:

    People are waiting in line for a phone? Seriously? I didn’t realize it was this big of a deal.

  7. jusooho says:

    36 dollar “activation fee?” Now cell phone companies charging you to start using their service and pay them more money every month. No good.

  8. tande04 says:

    @humphrmi: By then though they’ll have a new one (or at least on the cusp of a new one).

  9. Zeniq says:

    @jusooho: I thought all wireless companies charged activation fees. Mine got waived through t-mobile because I am a college student, although I had to call to get it done.

    What providers do not charge an activation fee? I want to know for when/if I switch.

  10. jusooho says:

    @Zeniq: Sorry, I did not know this is common practice. My company got my cellphone here.

    It seems like a no-good policy to have activation fees. Just charge more if you need to make more. Its more honest.

  11. krispykrink says:

    It is Aple’s network that went t*ts up. The MobileMe transition is still wonky. Whatever monkey Apple hired that decided it would be a good idea to do the MobileMe, original iPhone Firmware update, and release a new iPhone that needs to be activated over the same network as all that other crap, needs to be fired, and hung on TV. You’ve got to be seriously beyond incompetent to do that.

  12. HeartBurnKid says:

    Just goes to show — Apple is Microsoft pretending to be Radiohead.

  13. Zeniq says:

    Ooooh, MobileMe.

  14. Truthie says:

    Well, Apple runs the activation servers and so in the end they are primarily responsible. However, the blame is to be shared as the two companies together decided to retain the previous iTunes-based provisioning and activation system while instituting AT&T’s in-store activation requirements.

    Apple gets a FAIL for anticipating the heavy loads their system wound face and conducting the necessarily, especially considering they had similar problems last year (when activations were done at home but still happened all at once on launch day).

    Apple gets a DOUBLE FAIL because they also f’ed up the launch of their MobileMe service (same issues with too much load bringing down the system).

    And BTW I have an iPhone and am an Apple fan but am just very disappointed. But then again these types of things happen when a product company starts focusing on services.

  15. falc says:

    regarding this whole 3G iPhone launch….
    HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!1!

    as a non-iphone, non-at&t customer i find this very amusing.

    wasnt there a link a few months ago about how to filter out all iphone stories?

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m still stunned that Apple didn’t continue their wonderful iPhone 1.0 scheme of home activation. Not in the market for one, but that would be a key selling point on its own.
    Had they owned 100% of the activation route, they would have tested the hell out of it and fixed any problems pre-launch.
    Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda, Apple!

  17. howie_in_az says:

    If Apple had just sold the 3G iPhone to anyone that wanted it and not tied it to a particular carrier, not only would they have a BUNCH more customers, they wouldn’t be experiencing this sort of shenanigans, either.

  18. EyeHeartPie says:

    @falc: Why would you want to do that? Then you couldn’t get entertained by watching this train wreck in progress.

  19. theblackdog says:

    I’ll just point to my comment in another entry:

    [consumerist.com]

  20. Dennis says:

    Just for the record, my blackberry is still working like a charm.

    To anyone who waited in line today for an iPhone, I might suggest reading The Theory of the Leisure Class

  21. Dennis says:

    @HeartBurnKid: That is the best Apple analogy I’ve ever heard.

  22. theunabomber says:

    Just got off the phone with AT&T, and their decree is that they will refund nothing for now, and maybe consider it once we are able to use our phones. They gave me no assurance that they would refund the activation fee, nor would they credit my account for any days that I am without service. They suggested giving it 24 hours to “see how things go.”

  23. jamar0303 says:

    Waiting for a no-activation hack here…

  24. dherman75 says:

    I just returned from a hellish wait at the King of Prussia PA apple store (16gb in hand!) but while there I struck up a conversation with the genius who was activating my phone. His response to this whole mess was that the problem was on AT&T since they were requiring all the activations in their system but had not provided enough ‘ports’ through which users could get through. He said that as each hour went by (and a new time zone as well) the system would get more slammed but since they could still get the occasional activation through it was not on their end, but instead a byproduct of a port opening up and someone snatching it up…

  25. Kilotonne says:

    This is what it took me to activate my HTC Tilt 2 with AT&T: take the SIM card out of my old phone and insert it in the Tilt. Done. Time it took: 1.5 minutes to reboot Windows Mobile and calibrate the touchscreen.

  26. humphrmi says:

    @tande04: Ya, sadly I’m perpetually Bleeding Edge -1 Generation.

  27. dale3h says:

    I was able to receive $42.07 credit on my
    AT&T account today for the sole fact that AT&T deactivated my existing phone with knowledge of iPhone activation problems. I could have missed a very important phone call and not even had known it for hours.