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iPhone: Prepay the right way

It is now about 5:00 Mountain Time as I write this. I spent most of the day at the AT&T store from about 9 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Then I spent several more hours at home talking to AT&T and Apple support personnel. I have swapped SIMs so often that I deserve a SIM merit badge. I have set up no fewer than six separate phone accounts. My credit card has been beaten and battered funding those accounts.

Here's what I learned: If you want to set up your iPhone as a prepaid account, do not--no that's not emphatic enough--do NOT, DO NOT attempt to set up the account in advance with AT&T.

Just don't. Trust me. Here's how you should do it:

Buy the iPhone. Connect it to iTunes. Sign up using 999-99-9999 as your social security number. After failing the credit check, select a GoPhone plan. After signing up for a GoPhone plan and being assigned a number and passcode, connect to the AT&T GoPhone funding page as prompted, enter your credit card or debit card information and you're good to go. DO NOT attempt to fund your iPhone over the phone with AT&T. DO NOT set up your iPhone prepaid account in advance with AT&T.

As for me? After a certain number of failed attempts (all on the part of extremely warm, wonderful, but ultimately unsuccesful AT&T employees), the fraud detection system kicked into gear. That's where I am now. I can't move forward until AT&T closes down all those well meaning but useless accounts and lets me activate the one, good account that started and ended in iTunes.

As for the AT&T and Apple personnel? I've been working with them now for nearly 22 hours of on-phone and in-person time. (Yes, I was up way late last night). With the exception of one person[1], they have all been fabulously kind, patient and supportive. Thank you to you all, especially Diana Cruzan the retail sales manager for the Aurora City Place AT&T store, Jamshed Mulla, AT&T iPhone Guru, and Dan Callahan of Fleishman Hillard.

[1] There's always one.

Update: 5:25. Just off the phone with AT&T fraud detection people. It LIVES!!!! "iPhone is Activated". Woot!



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It is now about 5:00 Mountain Time as I write this. I spent most of the day at the AT&T store from about 9 in the morning until 2 in...