As the much-awaited iPhone 3G launch date looms, more and more would-be buyers are becoming concerned about AT&T and Apple’s new strategy of requiring in-store activation for every iPhone 3G sale. The device will not be available for sale online anywhere in the US, and can only be purchased from inside either an AT&T store or Apple store, where the device has to be activated on the spot as well.
This is bad news for quite a large percentage of potential iPhone 3G buyers, most of which are aiming to buy the device in huge stocks to unlock and sell in other countries before its official launch date, as not all markets will get the iPhone 3G on July 11th.
Official AT&T statements have explicitly ruled out any chance of activating a newly purchased iPhone 3G at home, but a leaked internal memo indicates, that in-home activation is still possible.
AppleInsider writes, “[the AT&T Mobility memo] suggests that customers may be able to leave a retail store without a fully activated iPhone 3G, but only after having signed their intent to adopt a new 2-year service agreement and iPhone data plan with proper identification. This information would immediately make its way into AT&T’s systems along with the IMEI number of the new iPhone 3G, allowing the customer to complete activation at home via iTunes if they so chose.”
And text from the memo itself is quoted as saying:
“The new 3G device will be activated in store in both AT&T and Apple stores. Customers must accept AT&T and Apple Ts & Cs, sign a 2-year agreement, and select the data plan for the iPhone 3G before leaving the store,” the memo says. “The current iTunes activation process will no longer be required for iPhone 3Gs, however a short tether process to unbrick the 3G device will be performed in all AT&T stores (tether cords will be provided). Apple stores will also perform this tether process, however in the event that a customer’s device is not tethered in the Apple store, their device will be inoperable until they get home and tether through iTunes. Prepaid and Pick Your Plan will not be allowed on the 3G device.”
This is very good news for those who have worried about the required in-store activation process. The only question now is, what will AT&T do if enterprising customers take advantage of their approval of in-home activation to fill the gray market with 3G iPhones just like they did with the first generation model? Clearly Apple and AT&T has a lot of thinking to do if they are to overcome this obstacle, but let’s hope both companies decide to choose the right thing and do what will benefit both of their companies as well as the customers.
Via Apple Insider
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