Under The Microscope

iPhone No Longer iBrick

Yesterday (late last night, really) I posted a timeline of my iPhone purchase. As noted, I had the iPhone in 7 minutes, but activation was taking hours. This morning when I woke up and discovered the iPhone was still an iBrick, I decided to stop waiting and do something active. An hour later, I’m up and running.

Here’s what I did:

1) As I only have cell service, I tried the new SIM in my old phone, which allowed me to place calls.

2) I then checked the AT&T forums for contact info. I called 1-877-800-3701, selected option 1, and then waited on hold.

3) For the next 45 minutes, I heard 30 seconds of bad music, followed by a pause during which I would experience that emotion once called “hope”. I’d then get a standard “Your call is important to us” type message, followed by 30 seconds of more bad music, another pause, and so on. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4) When I got through, I explained my situation to the CS rep, who looked over my account, tweaked some things, and checked my IMEI and ICCID numbers (they’re on the iPhone box). He then told me to swap my SIM back into the iPhone and wait just a couple minutes for a call-back.

5) A few minutes later, I had the long-awaited email, as well as a call-back from the CS rep on the iPhone. Everything finally worked. I asked what the issue was, and the CS rep said that the person who had activated the account had neglected to add one feature, and failed to click the all-important final “Activate” button. Oops.

Lest you think I’m an idiot, when he said “the person who activated the phone”, he didn’t mean me. It sounds like at least some activations must be processed manually, after the iTunes portion is performed by the customer. My phone number is in New Jersey, while my billing address is in Boston, so this may cause issues and require manual activation. That manual activation didn’t go properly – my CS rep said they were “seeing a lot of problems with that”.

As mentioned yesterday, I have no plans to pay an activation fee and at this time, none was on my account. If one is added, I’ll be fighting it, as $36 to activate a phone myself, then wait over a day with not one but two bricked phones, is not my idea of a bargain.

I don’t know what would have happened had I passively waited longer. It seems likely that this might have gone unnoticed for many more hours, perhaps even days. The best I can offer those waiting is to take action.

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