Disclaimer: This piece contains facts as reported by word of mouth and by discussion groups. Interpretation of these events is my own opinion, and worth what it costs – your conclusions may vary.
I don’t have the 3G version of the iPad, so this doesn’t impact me. But it looks like AT&T has truly mangled the 3G activation for some iPad owners.
Apparently, AT&T now requires a credit card with a physical address that lies within their 3G service area, in order to activate 3G access. No P.O. boxes allowed, either.
This is nigh on the dumbest thing I have ever seen. AT&T must realize that a great many people who live outside 3G coverage areas, such as myself, travel to or through 3G service areas and want to have access when it is available. My friend’s son, for instance, who not only could not activate his access, but after multiple activation attempts, AT&T deactivated his SIM card. Then told him via phone that he would have to buy another one from Apple. Naturally, my friend is absolutely livid at AT&T.
This does not appear to be an Apple problem; the blame appears to lie entirely with AT&T. But Apple had better get on the stick to straighten this out, or they are going to share AT&T’s black eye.
The mystery is that I also have an iPhone 3G; you would think the same problem would apply, but it does not. I don’t live in a coverage area, and my credit card address is my home address. Yet when I am in range, I get 3G access with no problems.
AT&T needs to correct this issue a.s.a.p., or they are going to lose a lot of potential customers; and they will hurt Apple in the process. If they do act swiftly to correct it, I will post an addendum here to note the fact.