The only thing slower than the AT&T EDGE network is…

After hanging out with about 300 fun folks at the Green Hills Apple Store, I thought I’d head across the street to the AT&T Store in Green Hills where only about 30 people were line — at the time. Mistake. By 6:45 only four people had actually made it out of the store with phones. Rather than merely selling phones, the AT&T Store was running credit checks on non-AT&T customers. They were handling things with all of the efficiency of a cell-phone store. A quick back-of-the-envelop calculation led me to believe I’d be there for another ten hours — so I’ve punted. I’ll order an iPhone online later tonight. It will get here when it gets here. What was I thinking? It’s the phone company.

As I noted during Steve Jobs’ Macworld announcement of the iPhone, the Cingular/AT&T president, Stan Sigman, came on stage and proceeded to spurt out business buzzwords written on 4 x5 cards — the worst canned speech of all time. Jobs responded, “We come from different worlds.”

Having just seen the difference in how iPhones were flying out of an Apple Store and being slowly “processed” at an AT&T Store, I think there are going to be some culture-clashing in the coming months.

Update: I was not the only one who had the ATT Store vs. Apple Store experience. Here’s a quote from author/entrpreneur Steven Johnson: “Tried to be clever and buy at the downtown Brooklyn AT&T store, which was a nightmare and limited me to only one phone. Came home and my wife was so irritated at my having the only iPhone in the house that I got back into a cab and went into Soho at about 10:30, where I bought a second phone at the Apple Store in maybe 45 seconds.”

  • scott

    that’s sorta interesting. you would think a lot of the early adopters would’ve been all over any and all info re the iphone, and if they had done their homework, would’ve learned that they didn’t have to have the credit check ran at the store. from the leaked materials, iirc, it indicated that the att people only had to ask if one wanted the credit check, it wasn’t required in store.

    i got to play with one for about 15 minutes, uninterrupted. i picked a store that wouldn’t receive a ton of traffic, and i was right. at 8pm, only 1 of the 3 display models was being used. the store had received 20, and were gone in 80 minutes. i bet they sold 20 in about 30 minutes at the apple store. of course, that goes back to your two worlds comment re apple and att. the att people didn’t even bother to come up and ask if i had questions, or try and demo it. typical att horrible customer service.

    overall, it’s shiny. very shiny. a 3g model with a2dp would be an absolute knockout (as would one of those osx-equipped ipods casually mentioned in the town hall stevenote).

  • scott

    bwahahahahahahaaa

    iphone activation disaster. beautiful.

    http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2007/06/iphone_act/index.php?lsrc=mwrss

  • My problems have come afterward. I went by the AT&T store this morning to talk to them about getting my current cell phone number ported to my iPhone and the bozos have cut my cell service. It worked like a dream last night. I called people. People called me. I can’t make or receive calls to the iPhone but everything on there works just fine.

    “Call this number Sunday morning and they will be able to switch you.”

    I’ll have the full iPhone experience up in a blog post.

  • Rex Hammock

    Pink Kitty: I’m convinced AT&T cell-phone stores hire people who can’t get jobs at fast-food restaurants. In looking back at my video, I’m sorry to see that you were hiding behind a pole. Great seeing you after that, however.

  • It’s all good. I said to Blake later “we forgot to take a picture! Nashville bloggers waiting on the iPhone! I can’t believe it.”

    I got my phone working again. I called AT&T tech support (they were very helpful) and was told the iPhone was trying to connect to a tower out of reach. He told me to shut off, wait 5 seconds and try again. Life is good in the neighborhood. 🙂

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  • OTOH, my AT&T experience in St. Louis was pretty seamless and it probably made the most sense for current at&t customers who needed to adjust their accounts as part of the process, something that would take a little longer than buying one or two at the Apple store and heading home to set up a new account. I also waited far less time than the people at the Apple store across the street, who started lining up in the early hours of the morning — 8-10 hours ahead of me. It may not have been as cool an experience but it turned out to be a lot more efficient.