iWait….and iBlame

Well, it has to be all over the news now… The iPhone is launched. Loads of people went out to buy it. However, many of them can’t use it because of activation issues. It’s funny — this is the thing that concerned me and a lot of other folks the most. How is Apple going to sell all of these phones and activate them? What I didn’t understand at the time was that the plan was for the user to activate the phone at home — pretty good plan….. if it works.

AT&T was the most malleable of the mobile phone partners that Apple could have chosen. They probably were selected largely because they agreed to let Apple do what they wanted with the phone’s design and integration with the network. However, the fact remains that AT&T is still a mobile phone company and don’t really have expertise in delivering a good customer service experience.

The iPhone doesn’t unlock any of it’s features until you activate the phone under a mobile service contract. For those establishing new service, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. For those transferring service from one AT&T phone to another, that seems to be slightly less of an issue. But for those brave souls like myself and so many others who decided that wherever Apple goes must not be that bad and I shall follow…..well, we kinda are getting screwed a bit. You start the activation in iTunes and it gets to a point where they take your existing information for your mobile phone provider and attempt to activate your new iPhone. I thought this was a bit dodgy when I first heard about it….. Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon just handing over a ton of customers without a fight? But then I watched the video on Apple’s homepage. The guy with the Steve Jobs outfit who demos the phone said that it would be an easy conversion. Ummm, OK. If you say so. But clearly after waiting…(let’s see…..) almost 12 hours, clearly that isn’t the case.

So Who’s to Blame

There’s a lot of blame to go around here. Let’s start with AT&T.


If you’re AT&T, I must say, you have to be a tad embarrassed. I mean, after all, this is your business. This is the only thing that you do in the equation. You didn’t design the phone. You didn’t design the interface. All you had to do was make sure that people would be able to use the devices, and you couldn’t quite make that happen. Not a great way to start a relationship. I had AT&T Wireless many years ago, but I don’t even count that experience because my phone was about the size of a VHS tape and the battery lasted about 5 hours if I didn’t use the phone and 1/2 an hour if I decided I might want to talk on it. But nonetheless, after 10 years, it seems like the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.


As secret as you kept this thing, did you not get a few Verizon beta customers and make them sign and NDA and actually go through this activation process to see how long it would take?? At least set customer expectations by telling us on line or on the web that this could take awhile. You have some pretty upset folks when you wait on line for 10 plus hours — only to realize that you would end up waiting longer than that for the phone to activate at home.


Oh yes. I know for a fact that you folks are trying to hang on desperately to us. You see this mile long list of people willing to pay the early termination fee and you’re saying to yourself, “…this…this must be a mistake! We did everything right….didn’t we??” Well, like the girlfriend who’s got her bags packed at the door and is deciding to give you a small bit of advice so that the next time you get a girl you’ll know what not to do, here’s the deal. You never listened. (Sounds kinda like the girlfriend too, huh?) You just don’t listen. We told you we were satisfied with the network. But we said we wanted cool devices. You gave us nothing. The Moto Q was the closest thing you came to giving us cool devices and even that you kinda messed up. How? The same way you mess every other phone up. You put your ugly interface on the device that just looks horrible. You put all sorts of restrictions that prohibit you from doing the cool stuff that we might want to do with our phones. Your nights don’t start until 9pm. You charge the highest rates. Your customer service (in the stores that is — I’ve had a good experience on the phones) is a joke. I’ve had people playing with their phones right in front of me while I tried to get information on a device. You don’t transfer numbers from devices without us having to beg, pay money or buy some software. I can go on for another 4 pages about all the things that are wrong….

And I will. You deserve your own dedicate page after our seven year relationship has abruptly ended.


Bottom line: This isn’t the kind of introduction that people should have to this phone. I’m not as upset as everyone else. I can do other things. But for the poor folks who I read posts from who only have a mobile phone and when they transferred over their business phone to this service were left with no phone service…. well, your heart has to go out just a bit to those folks.


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