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iPhone 4S buyers complain of AT&T activation issues

Many people have taken to Twitter to complain that their new iPhone 4S is having trouble being activated on AT&T's network.

AT&T customers are having trouble activating their iPhone 4S.
Some AT&T customers are having trouble activating their iPhone 4S.

It appears that some iPhone 4S owners are having trouble activating their new handset. And so far, it appears that the trouble is limited to AT&T's network.

Early this morning, Cult of Mac reported that people across the "blogosphere" were complaining that they weren't able to activate the iPhone 4S on AT&T's network due to too much strain on the carrier's servers. Those owners said that the activation process got hung up when the device displayed a screen saying, "It may take up to 3 minutes to activate your iPhone." Perhaps most notably, Cult of Mac said that it has yet to come across folks who have experienced issues activating their new smartphone on Verizon's or Sprint's networks.

In a search of Twitter today, CNET found that a slew of AT&T customers have taken to the social network to complain that they have been hung up on the iPhone activation screen for an inordinate amount of time. One Twitter user said that he's been waiting two hours for the iPhone 4S to activate, while another said that "there was a problem connecting" to the AT&T server during activation.

"5 years and counting," one Twitter user tweeted this morning. "AT&T iPhone activation fail."

As that user points out, AT&T doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to activations. In 2007, when the iPhone first launched, several people needed to wait more than a day for the carrier to activate the smartphone. In fact, CNET's Declan McCullagh said at the time that he was forced to wait "over 36 hours" to activate his handset.

In 2009, iPhone 3GS buyers experienced a similar issue and were forced to wait several days before their devices could be activated. To try and make it right, Apple offered a $30 iTunes credit for customers that were experiencing the problem.

However, when those troubles occurred, AT&T didn't need to worry about competition, since it was the only carrier selling the smartphone. This time around, however, both Sprint and Verizon Wireless are also selling Apple's latest handset, and since they're apparently not having problems activating the device, it makes AT&T's troubles all the more glaring.

Neither AT&T nor Apple immediately responded to CNET's request for comment.