iPhone 3G Goes On Sale, Plagued By Activation Problems

Robert Andrews
Friday, July 11, 2008; 1:00 PM

The phone may be quicker, but the wait sure is a drag. After New Zealand and Japan got there first, after Europeans queued up, one year after iPhone 1.0 hit? North Americans have finally got their hands on the 3G version of the device that, perhaps, Apple ( NSDQ: AAPL) should have released in the first place.

But many who have walked away from Apple and AT&T ( NYSE: T) stores with the new handset have found themselves unable to activate it on the network. Even those trying to activateinsidethe Apple Store weren't spared what appears to be yet another system overload.

Fans turned out as expected to queue this morning as stores opened at 8am, but many of the east coast faithful were first to report long waits for activation, with some saying the iTunes activation server was down globally. The problem did not affect everybody, but some O2 UK customers were told this morning they faced a wait of several hours before the problem eased, with priority given to new sign-ups rather than upgrade customers. What's more, O2's web-based activation system required Microsoft ( NSDQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer, of all things.

Tricia adds: My fearless colleague Matt Kapko is out on the streets of Long Beach, reporting live from the lines. He said that people streaming out of an AT&T store are also reporting activation problems. Ryan Devitt, 20, who had people holding his spot in line since 3 a.m., said the systems aren't working and was told to go home and activate the new iPhone 3G on iTunes. In addition, here's a live stream of Tweets from New York, where Eric Zeman from PhoneScoop is detailing the activation outages, the most recent being a few minutes ago.


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