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O2 Stores Suffering iPhone 3G Activation Problems

Gordon Kelly


O2 Stores Suffering iPhone 3G Activation Problems

So we all know the O2's iPhone 3G pre-order system descended into chaos within moments of going live and now it seems in store problems are mounting on launch day too...

According to both industry reports and our tales of woe from our readers, O2 stores up and down the country have been suffering outages from their automated iPhone activation servers leading to mass delays and prolonged waits for many.

Here are just a few of the snippets you guys have been telling us so far:

Pete: "Can conform O2 systems have crashed. Arrived at local o2 store at just before 8. A few people in front of me and got served at about 9.15, only to be told that the system had crashed and no existing iPhone customers could upgrade. Awaiting a call back to let me know when it's back up. More of shambles than the Internet reservations Monday!"

Ben: "I'm told the O2 Gateway system has been taken down completely to try and repair it. Those in queues (most people still are by the sound of it) can expect to wait at least an hour before they try and bring it up again. O2 really are blunder after farce after blunder, aren't they! What the hell am I letting myself in for??"

And our own Andy Vandervell: "Consider yourself lucky you got one. I was at a Carphone Warehouse store in Sunningdale, Berkshire - very near our office in Ascot. Complete systems failure. I was the second person there and after an hour and a half they said we'd all have to go home. They set aside iPhones in order and told us they'd call us back."

Oh - and indeed - dear.

Also not going smoothly are many firmware 2.0 updates for existing iPhone owners with the overloaded iTunes servers repeatedly timing out when retrying to reactive upgraded handsets. The message: "We could not complete your iTunes Store request. The network connection timed out."

Ultimately, those who've decided to circumvent the whole day are probably feeling rather smug. As for everyone else, my sympathies go out to you...


O2 iPhone 3G Product Page

The Pope

July 11, 2008, 6:18 pm

Oh dear indeed. How did they not see this coming??

Andy Vandervell

July 11, 2008, 6:25 pm

Big companies stuggle to react. I think we all can all relate to that!

Scott Williamson

July 11, 2008, 7:36 pm

Seems their 2.0 firmware is having problems too. Since about 2pm it has said that 2.0 is available, but when you click to upgrade that the store is down (which it isn't). Then a few minutes later it says that 1.1.4 is the current version and there is no upgrade. Five minutes later, the cycle starts again.


July 11, 2008, 7:43 pm

Every story on this makes me glad that I'm thinking of getting this in November rather than as soon as possible. Hopefully all this rubbish will have died down by then.


July 11, 2008, 7:45 pm

ahem. All morning and part of Monday afternoon spent a*sing about trying to upgrade online and O2's systems crash under the strain. Friday morning, try to upgrade in O2's store, systm crashes under the strain. Finally get iPhone home and try to activate ... well you know the story by now.

I think this launch can be described as unprofessionally clumsy at best but I can think of many other ways to put it too. /sigh

ian 3

July 11, 2008, 8:00 pm

Are the issues really this bad?

if so i must have been very lucky - placed an order for a 16GB on the web on monday quite late (at around 10:30 AM), no problems at all. Sat around all week with the order showing "in progress" pretty sure that i hadn't got an order in on time. Then last night, get a DHL tracking number out of the blue and the phone arrived this morning. Activated and installed apps (twitteric is great) without a glitch.

Someone else i know walked into CPW this morning on the off chance, having not pre-ordered or anything and walked out with a 16GB one up within minutes.

Paul Newey

July 11, 2008, 8:03 pm

Just got my new iPhone home and yup I'm having no joy at all connecting to iTunes store to upgrade. My iPhone is stuck in limbo until things eventually calm down and I'm able to connect. Fingers crossed it'll have calmed down a bit by Monday. Gutted though. :( I wanted to play.

Andy Vandervell

July 11, 2008, 8:11 pm

Well it seems as though new customers have got by far the better treatment, particularly with the online ordering system.

Scott Williamson

July 11, 2008, 8:23 pm

You know its pretty poor. Apple are the masters at hype, so they hype it all up to drive up demand and then fail. This is not the way to have happy customers guys, if you're gonna hype your products launches like mad, make sure you can deliver.


July 11, 2008, 9:27 pm

another bloody iphone article, please stop. I'm guessing this comment will never see the light of day just like my last one, proving that this comment section is a complete waste of time


July 11, 2008, 9:31 pm

unfortunately the iPhone stories on iPhone 3G launch week are very popular jordanwise (whodda thunk it?). There's plenty of other stuff for you to read...


July 11, 2008, 10:47 pm

Have you tried to activate your iPhone to no avail? Are you holding a $299 brick in your hand? Here's what you do. When activating your iPhone (or just upgrading to 2.0 software), if you get an error message on your phone, DO NOT UNPLUG IT. That will restart the entire process.

Instead, just wait. Leave your phone be and don't close iTunes.

We've successfully activated five different iPhone 3Gs with error screens just by letting them sit plugged in for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Hopefully that might work for you, too.


July 11, 2008, 11:14 pm

Could Apple and O2 have fecked up the iPhone 3G launch to the British public any more than they have? If Mr Jobs and Snr Alierta haven't already demanded balls on plates for the worst product release planning, management, and systems support ever known, then it's surely only a matter of time.

This is stupendously, fabulously, amazingly...fecking embarrassing stuff.

I'm half expecting a picture of Jeremy Beadle to appear on the o2 website any minute now. ;)

James Douglas

July 11, 2008, 11:54 pm

Nice, Thank you Apple. Thank you O2. Good thing that I don't need my phone for business, to speak to people, or to surf the web, as due to the stupidity and lack of foresight (come on, the servers crashed when people ORDERED the damn phone) what did they think was going to happen when they all tried to activate it today?

Damned imbeciles that put profit before all else. The person responsible for iTunes should be fired.


July 12, 2008, 1:28 am

Holy Jesus, this is iPocalypse Now!!!

Mannn, I've been browsing around the net reading sites regarding this and I just can't believe the sh#t that's hit the fan. 1000's of people with bricked phones, 7 hour waits to update via iTunes. What a complete unmitigated Feck up by Apple. Their reputation has sure took a huge beating today. I can't ever remember a feck up that parallels this on the windows platform.

I've still got my original iPhone and a new 3G sitting on my desk...

Think I'll wait awhile before updating to 2.0 and activating my 3G.


July 12, 2008, 2:42 am

Just to add some balance to this forum - I got my 16GB iPhone by 9.30am. I arrived at Knightsbridge branch of carphone warehouse at a very civilised 7.50am there were only 4 people in front of me in the queue. Yes, the systems were slow, but the efficient staff took our details and started the ball rolling with our upgrades / new contracts. I went for a coffee and breakfast and was called about 9.30 to say my phone was all ready to collect. I had a small delay activating it through iTunes but it's all up and running now and its brilliant! From my point of view, it was a fairly successful day and I think all parties involved have worked hard to launch a fantastic product simultaneously in 22 countries. Of course there are going to be some problems with such a big launch, but your should think yourself lucky that you managed to get a phone - many didn't!

Tony Walker

July 12, 2008, 3:32 am

O2 crap - Apple brilliant

Went to an O2 store for the 8:02 opening. (th in line, wanting a 16gb. They had three, all snapped up by the first three customers. Based on that, and having planned to try two other O2 stores in the area with 9am and 10am opening times, I set off out of town aiming for the Trafford Centre and the Apple Store therein. Not much of a queue when I got there, they had stock of the 16gb black and 16gb white and had actually been open since 8-ish. I got there around 9am.

Queue moved a little at first. Then the O2 servers started playing nasty. That lasted until about 1pm when a burst of activity allowed some orders to get processed.

Finally, my turn. The servers were acting up again but finally the Apple guy got the chance to activate the phone. KABOOM!! The servers exploded again. A further chance was attempted a short while later with the same result.

Then the O2 servers died completely and a further period of sitting doing nothing ensued. Finally the store manager - who must've been giving O2 hell - comes back into the Stor with a bunch of paper contracts. These are duly filled in and signed and O2 customer services are hoiked onto the line to put this into O2's systems at source.

Finally got to pay for my phone and the deal was completed.

Now, I must say a huge, huge thank you to the staff at the Manchester Trafford Centre Apple Store. They kept us informed, sympathised with us at the right moments, got food and drink organised and even helped out one chap (Hi Tim if your reading this) who had a kid and couldn't wait around.

And to really sweeten the day at the end of it, Cara the manager gave us waiters a &#16315 iTunes vouchers for our trials and tribulations.

I hear O2 are going on a trip to a brewery - must avoiud that one.

gary gatter

July 12, 2008, 4:36 am

Would Microsoft get away with this?


July 12, 2008, 3:56 pm

A friend at an Apple store was well looked after during the problems, with refreshments given throughout the day, a free lunch and an iTunes voucher for &#16315. Now that's the mark of a great company - how they act when things go completely wrong.

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