Customers of AT&T that purchase an iPhone 4S earlier today experienced a variety of problems when attempting to activate the new smartphone. Users that failed to activate the phone on the first try were placed in a queue and were sent an email when the activation process was complete. Many customers were stuck on the activation process for hours and were unable to utilize the phone’s features until the process finished. Customers also took to Twitter and other social networks to complain about the lengthy activation times. However, Verizon and Sprint customers didn’t report the same amount of activation issues during the launch today.
AT&T’s inability to properly handle activation on iPhone launch days isn’t a new problem for the wireless company. In 2008, iPhone 3G owners were sent home on launch day after activation servers crashed leaving customers without access to a mobile phone for the majority of the day. During the launch of the 3GS, many disgruntled AT&T subscribers reported activation times that lasted up to 48 hours. During the launch of the iPhone 4, Apple attempted to spread out the distribution of the smartphone over three days and AT&T sent out text messages regarding activation to help subscribers through the process.
AT&T officials released the following statement regarding the activation issue: “As of 4:30 pm ET today, AT&T had already activated a record number of iPhones on our network – and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day. These record volumes may produce slower activations for some customers, though our systems continue to run at record levels.” Previous to the release of the iPhone 4S, activations required users to plug the phone into a Mac or PC via USB and completing activation through iTunes. However, iOS 5 allows users to complete activation without having to connect the smartphone to a computer.
Check out our iPhone 4S review.