The popular iPhone 3G has become more accessible – users can buy it online and activate it at home via iTunes – thanks to AT&T and Apple bringing in-home activation.
While AT&T is advertising the activation through its site, Apple still requires users to come to its retail storefronts to activate the handset.
The service is available for new customers, as well as AT&T customers who wish to add a line. However, current subscribers who want to upgrade their handset still need to go to a store. Users who do not activate within a certain timeframe will be subject to an early termination fee.
The multimedia smartphone has sold extremely well since its launch. The first-generation iPhone could be purchased in a store or online, and the user could activate the phone at home through iTunes. The original version was sold unsubsidized, and many users would end up unlocking the touch-screen smartphone.
By reintroducing the online purchase and in-home activation feature – which has been absent since the release of the iPhone 3G this year - AT&T is largely trying to avoid some of the gridlock that the first iteration of the handset suffered through upon its release.
While the original iPhone was only sold at Apple and AT&T retail stores, the 3G model can be found in Best Buy stores, and will soon be available at Wal-Mart.
In fact, the latest move comes at a time when there are rumors of Wal-Mart stocking the handset. If the partnership rolls out ahead of the holidays, online activation of the device would certainly save the mega-retailer from a potentially enormous botheration.
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