updated 01:50 pm EDT, Fri October 14, 2011
Softbank sales system goes down for three hours
(Updated with new AT&T complaints) Both US carrier AT&T and Japan's Softbank have been coping with some serious activation and sales system problems related to the iPhone 4S, reports say. AT&T's activations servers are said to be overloaded, sometimes taking 5 to 15 minutes or longer to complete the process for each phone. Activation is required to begin using an iPhone on a cellular network.
Softbank's customer registration system meanwhile went down for approximately three hours this morning. The outage began shortly after the start of sales at 8AM, and lasted until about 11AM. A carrier spokeswoman, Makiko Ariyama, explains that "greater-than-expected orders" are to blame. Over 200 people had gathered in front of a Tokyo Softbank outlet prior to launch.
Carriers regularly suffer such problems during iPhone launches. The present situation appears to be unequal, however. US companies Verizon and Sprint, for instance, have not seen any significant volumes of complaints so far. Softbank is for the first time competing against KDDI for Japanese iPhone sales, but the latter carrier has not encountered any major glitches.
Update: One MacNN reader mentions that he has been unsuccessfully trying to activate an iPhone 4S for over five hours; another quotes a two-and-a-half hour delay.