I ordered an AT&T cell phone last Tuesday (2/18) from their website. It took them until the 22nd to even process the order and then their free 'two-day' shipping really took 4 calendar days to get to me so it got to my house on Tuesday. Excited puppy that I was, I immediately opened the box when I got home and turned on the phone. The first message I got was that the SmartChip Registration Failed. Well then. I tried dorking around with it a little and actually read the instructions. They said to go to the website or call the 800 number to activate your phone. Well, the website didn't have a link to the activation page, so I ended up calling the 800 number. At 9:02 PM. They close at 9.
The next (Wednesday) day I called their 800 number again and had somebody talk me through activation. She also showed me that to activate it through their website, you have to do a SEARCH for the word ACTIVATION. Who would have known that AT&T really is not interested in customers using an automated process to activate their phones? I mean, Virgin has a link right on their frontpage. They LOVE to get your new business. Anyway, the phone now activated, I exptected to be able to take calls within an hour, two hours, four hours tops. No. I called the 800 number again and talked to Mae for over an hour. She was not able to make it work, and she really seemed to be doing stuff. She made me turn it off, take out the chip, put the chip back in, turn on the phone, and lots of other stuff. She finally suggested waiting 24 to 48 hours to let the network completely sync, since this could be a cause of this issue. I don't care how nice Mae was (and she really tried to help me) but if it takes that long to sync their network after a change to a customer account I'm going back to Sprint.
Today I put my chip into somebody else's phone and got the same result, and when I put their chip in my phone, I was able to them on my phone. So it's not the phone. I'm going to call them back and if they can't fix it over the phone in a short time I'm willing to go to an AT&T store later on today, and if they can't fix it there I'm going to the Sprint store. They're both on the way home, and the Sprint store comes after the AT&T store, so it's really convenient.