Big problems between AT&T and Apple at 3G iPhone launch [Telecom]

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July 11, 2008 11:56 AM PDT Big problems between AT&T and Apple at 3G iPhone launch Posted by Matt Asay

So, after waiting three hours in line at the Apple Store, Apple was unable to activate my iPhone. The reason? There was a "PLU" on my account. Except that when we called AT&T, there isn't a PLU on my account. Verdict? I'm out-of-luck.

What's a PLU? It is basically a corporate discount code which indicates that the user is on a "foundation" account.

In my case, there is no PLU because there is no foundation account. Apple told me I'd have to get the phone at the AT&T store, which was fruitless since AT&T was out of the 3G iPhone by 9:30 AM. I walked over to the AT&T store to ask if I could buy the phone at the Apple Store then walk the two minutes to AT&T to activate it. Nope.

This is one of the clumsiest product launches ever. Apple knows hardware and software - it knows nothing about telecommunications, and the lack of an effective hand-off relationship with AT&T makes for problems like this one. (I wasn't alone in having the PLU problem. There were dozens in the SLC Apple Store who had the same problem, and I've read online that huge numbers of people are having trouble activating their 3G iPhones and getting their iPhones updated to the 2.0 software. While I was in line Apple's activation system went down three times (apparently nationwide).

Apple, you wasted three hours of my time this morning. At the end of it, I have two bureaucrats sitting in your store and in AT&T's telling me that while there's absolutely nothing wrong with my account, I can't get a 3G iPhone. AT&T's system is telling Apple that there's a problem...the same system that the AT&T people looked at and said there's not even the shadow of a problem.

Try again, Apple. For a company that makes as excellent products as you do, the buying experience couldn't be worse.

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Monty Solomon
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