Previous 1 2 3 Next 155 Replies Latest reply: Jul 3, 2007 10:50 AM by Kenneth Fisher
anitas anger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
i work for att. i got an iphone last night as well and mine activated instantly...but i live in oklahoma, fewer people, fewer activations, fewer problems. okay whenever a new cellular phone is activated it is programmed through a computer and then sent to a piece of hardware called a "switch." think of a switch as a turnstall at a fair or a revolving door at a hotel. only one actication can go through the switch at a time, any other activations behind it are waiting in line like people at a ticket counter. activations aren't the only things that have to go through the switch. anytime you call in to your cell provider and make an account change such as adding/removing a feature, changing a rate plan, activating a new sim, anything like that, it goes through a switch.

sometimes, there are natural switch delays. it doesn't happen daily because in a matter of odds, thousands of people won't be making account changes simultaniously everyday. however, sometimes this happens and it creates a delay in the switch. when this happens, we alert our customers of the delay and advise them to wait a few hours, power cycle and try again. switch delays aren't a daily occourence, but not rare. now, lets talk about the iphones and switch delays.

the iphone is undoubtedly THE biggest thing to ever happen to a cellular industry. last night, hundreds of thousands of people purchased iphones at the EXACT same time, rushed home and tried to activate their phones asap. what happened was a massive bombarding of activations to switches that generally don't handle anything near last night's load. since the phones were sold at 6:00, everyone got home at about 7:00 and most likely overloaded the switches to the point of near exhaustion! it would be like 30,000 or so people throwing basketballs at one hoop and hoping to make it in! theoretically, larger metropolitan areas would have more problems due to more switch activity. granted our switches in new york city are heavy duty, but there are no switches in existance designed to handle that kind of load because with the exception of this weekend, there would never be that much activity!

is it apples fault? no, i think that their activation through itunes is ingenious. it keeps people from having to call into att and it was FAR less painless than in-store account set up! is it att's fault? no. they can't be blamed for overloaded switches due to iphones WILD success. our switches are adequate, it's just that this weekend was a rare-bird exception that would have dang-near blown out any switch. it was like christmas day X 100! i think that i got mine activated so soon because we got from the store to my house in about 20 minutes and completed the activation before the swarm began to get into full swing. so those of you who are still waiting, just hang in there! just think of your activation as being in line for a rollercoaster. you are 3/4 closer to the front than you were last night! having had over 24 hours to mess with this phone, i can assure you that it is well worth the wait. it's the most marvelous piece of technology i've ever had the pleasure of using.

i'm sorry to all of those who aren't active yet, but hang in there! your hour will come. i bet those switches are like hot stove-tops right now begging for a chance to breathe. it's like pouring liquid thorugh a funnel, pouring faster will just cause an overflow, gravitiy has to take it's course! it's not att's fault, it's just the hundreds of thousands of activations fighting for the chance to make that first call! hang in there.



24 imac   Mac OS X (10.4.10)  
  • Munitalp Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Thanks for the update(s) anitas.
  • anitas anger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    my pleasure! i just feel bad that my phone already works and understand how frustrated i would be if the same were happening to me. i just wanted to explain it logically so people would understand that it's not a matter of the service not working, but a matter of a delay due to the wild demand for iphone activations! i'm sure that this weekend will be a case-study blueprint for all future cell providers to study and learn from. including att.
  • D.C. Douglas1 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    And we breathe in. . . and out . . . in . . . out . . .
  • Leone D'Antonio Level 4 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Thanks for the update. I was lucky enough to get my iPhone activated in 3min. Yup, that quick. But then again, i'm in L.A. and i'm also an AT&T customer.

    I spoke with a friend of mine who worked in telecom, earlier tonight about the activation issues.

    She mentioned to me that if people are on other wireless carriers such as Verizon or Sprint that they actually have up to 24 hours to release the number for porting. I think she mentioned that technically it can be up to 28 hours.

    So who knows..... perhaps Verizon or Sprint are playing dirty?
  • theamazin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My old Cell Phone has died now because of porting and Iphone has stil not activated. Where does that leave me since I don't have a land line. WITH NO PHONE! And not all the support lines are closed.

    Is there a number I can call at this hour to get help?
  • anitas anger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    yes that is correct. whenever a person ports from one carrier to another, the initial carrier has to release the line before it can be ported in to the new one. so, indeed those porting out are experiencing potential lag from the releasing carrier because it's not a "priority" for them to rush for a customer they won't being making money off of anymore. then, after it is released, they may also experience switch lag with activation as mentioned earler. i do know for sure that the iphone has created a lot of rival carrier hostility and att isn't very popular with the other carriers at the time. thanks to steve jobbs, they are losing a LOT of business. but they had their chance and passed it up. even though i work for att, i've never been a big loyalist to them or anything. but.. i do have to admit, i hold them in higher regards now then i did before the iphone. i'm happy they were progressive enough to see the iphone for what it is. sure they are making a lot of money on it, but for att to give up the right for ringtone profits and 100% rate plan profits, says a lot. they trusted in apple and for that, i am glad.
  • howwow Level 4 Level 4 (3,500 points)
    Hi anitas, I live in Singapore so I can't get an iPhone until next year. But I envy you guys in the U.S. and have been following the stories and these forum posts since the iPhone launch Friday.

    I think what you have posted is not only very great, but "surprising" coming from an AT&T employee. I am sure your post is very useful and informative to many frustrated, disappointed and perhaps angry new iPhone owner why they cannot activate their iPhones, or the activation is taking way long.

    I hope everyone of them has a chance to read your post and be patient... hey "at least" you guys only have to "wait a few more hours" to activate the phone. I have to wait till next year, and that is still not a confirm.

    So I guess guys, chill and relax, and enjoy your brand new iPhone!

    Cheers
  • firesuite Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you sooooooo much!

    Not even for having an adequate technical answer;

    But for having some common sense.

    This whole activation issue just makes sense when you consider the raw facts. Hundreds of thousands of people doing the same thing at the same is going to cause problems, whether it is over a communications network or in a bar.
  • keynesiandreamer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello Anitas, thank you for the thoughtful response, but several features of the launch were mishandled:

    1.) There should have been some kind of lecture on crowd management at the ATT stores, people rushed to the front when the doors opened, I am sure this wasn't the case everywhere, but noe the less 15 minutes of well spent time could have avoided alot of frustration.

    2.) Old ATT Customers, I have been an ATT customer since 2004 and apparently, I was never migrated over to Cingular, or from a "Blue Account" to an "Orange Account". Which had delayed things even further when I had to call 3 times to get this matter settled. Very peevish indeed, this should had been thought out a bit better than leaving people on the fringe and leaving people finding their own solutions.

    Personally, I think the activation fee should be waived if you are over the Service License Agreement, which changed from 3 minutes, to 1 - 6 hours, to 24 - 48 Hours. Worst Yet, they changed my account and now I have no phone what so ever. Clearly an over-arching failure in the customer service experience.

    Nonetheless, your insight is very much appreciated, for those people left in the dark.
  • medice18b Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Actually how can u say that ATT is not to blame when they knew this would be a huge event/activation 7 months ago. Obviously there was no thought put into servers as well as training of support personnel.
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,960 points)
    Read it again, please. This is a one-time event. It is unreasonable to expect AT & T to upgrade its equipment to accommodate the kind of traffic experienced this weekend, since that isn't going to happen again (at least not at any time in the foreseeable future).

    Also, if other providers are dragging their feet about releasing your number, that's not AT & T's fault AT ALL.

    Read it again, please.
  • rebob-a-bob Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for that information. And thank you, thank you.

    Wow, that's exactly what I wanted to know. I feel so much better even though I'm still waiting.

    Also, two nights' sleep and a glance at the news headlines once in a while puts everything in better perspective.

    Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo & others   Mac OS X (10.4.10)  
  • anitas anger Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    thank you rhonda, couldn't have put it better myself! my point exactly!
  • tnook Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Read it again, please. This is a one-time event. It
    is unreasonable to expect AT & T to upgrade its
    equipment to accommodate the kind of traffic
    experienced this weekend, since that isn't going to
    happen again (at least not at any time in the
    foreseeable future).

    Read it again, please.


    No. I disagree. No matter how many times I re-read it Ronda.

    Apple anticipated (and created) the hype for the iPhone and made provisions for the launch. AT&T should have known and did know about the surge in activations to be expected this weekend.

    Instead of finding a temporary solution through creating more capacity and making the revolutionary iPhone launch experience a pleasure and foster customer relations they decided to get greedy, do nothing, charge customers a premium for their connection plans, activation and let the customers suffer a slow activation process with little or no support.

    AT&T could have shone and stood out from their peers this weekend. They chose not to.
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