MAJOR AT&T iPhone 5 activation screw-up

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by aschulman, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. aschulman macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    Scenario: You have several phone numbers on your ATT wireless account; phone number A is eligible for an upgrade, but you want to use your new iPhone 5 with phone number B. Your pre-ordered iPhone 5 comes in the mail, you connect it to your Mac, and the phone immediately asks you if you want to confirm phone number A; it also tells you that, if you are planning to use the phone with a different phone number, just go ahead and confirm phone number A, then call AT&T to swap them. The same instructions appear if you open iTunes 10.7 after connecting your iPhone 5 to your Mac.

    Problem: If you follow those instructions, then phone number A becomes permanently associated with the nano-SIM in your new iPhone 5; you will then have to go to an AT&T store and purchase for $25 (or angrily demand without charge) a new nano-SIM which can be installed in your iPhone 5 with phone number B. Not only that, but the phone on your account that had phone number A is now dead, and whoever has that phone will also have to take it in to an AT&T store and purchase (or angrily demand) a new SIM, which can then be installed in that phone with phone number A (assuming the iPhone 5 has already been switched to phone number B).

    In other words, following the instructions on your new iPhone 5 or on iTunes 10.7 deactivates one of your phones and forces the purchase of two new SIMS for $50 before you can start using your iPhone with phone number B and your other phone with phone number A.

    Solution: What is maddening about this problem is that, if--instead of following the instructions and confirming phone number A on your new iPhone 5 before calling up AT&T--you call up AT&T technical support, they will tell you that they can do everything you need over the phone; you simply pull out the nano-SIM, read them the serial number, and they associate phone number B with your new iPhone, leaving your other phone associated with number A without interruption of service. But if you first confirm phone number A before calling technical support (as instructed), there is nothing technical support get do for you, other than apologize and maybe give you a $50 credit for the two SIMS you will have to purchase.

    Additional problem: At least one AT&T technical support person (contacted via online chat) was under the mistaken impression that, using iTunes 10.7 to activate the new iPhone, you will be given the opportunity to activate it using any of your AT&T phone numbers. That is not the case: you will have to call AT&T to make this happen (or get the iPhone activated at an AT&T store.)

    This seems to me a major screw-up that will inconvenience a considerable number of AT&T's wireless customers who upgrade to the iPhone 5 but want to use it with a different phone number.
  2. b24pgg macrumors 65816

    Jan 28, 2009
    No one has time for that wall of text son, give us a tl;dr
  3. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Speak for yourself.
  4. zachnelson macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    I actually read it, pretty ****** situation indeed.
  5. joeshmo2010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    SIM cards are free of charge. You must've gone to a dealer and not a corporate store.
  6. triplenick macrumors newbie


    Aug 7, 2011
    New York
    I did the same exact thing you did, but only for Verizon.

    The rep. told me that for the phone that needs to be reprogrammed, do NOT turn it on until I call Verizon to have them reprogram the SIM card for the number of my choosing. Once you turn the phone on, the SIM card is then associated to the number that you bought it for. Maybe it works similarly for AT&T?
  7. aschulman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    It's true that the AT&T store graciously offered free replacement SIMs for both phones when I explained the problem; on the other hand, the technical support person on the phone said I'd be charged $25 for each SIM at an AT&T store and graciously offered to credit my account for these charges.
  8. ROLLTIDE1 Suspended

    Sep 12, 2012
  9. aschulman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    In short:

    If you upgrade to an iPhone 5 but want to use it with a different phone number than the one that was eligible for the upgrade, DON'T follow the instructions and activate it--first call up technical support or you will cause yourself a lot of grief.
  10. Munkypoo7 macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Or just take it to your nearest AT&T Store and they will activate it on the line of your choice, properly, for free and they do it extremely quickly. That's what I did with mine, didn't take more than 10 minutes and I was set (used Mom's upgrade since she's happy with her phone).
  11. bova80 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    There was a big thread about this already.

    Put it short. If you are doing upgrade swap the dont turn the phone on until you call AT&T and tell them imei and SIM card number.
  12. aschulman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    True, that works. My main complaint is that nowhere, either on the phone or on iTunes, are you told to let AT&T handle this from the start; instead you are specifically instructed to activate the phone with the incorrect phone number before contacting AT&T to arrange the swap.
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    It seems as someone who didn't jump to the iPhone 5 right away, who is not an AT&T customer, and doesn't try to use someone else's upgrade to get the lower pricing, it seems like this information was pretty obvious to me. I could be wrong but the screw up is not really with AT&T. I don't think any carrier would go out of their way to ensure they program the online activation so that the people who are using other peoples' upgrades can do it with ease. They should, this is super common, but I don't think they do.

    Go to AT&T and they will sort it.

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