Sprint’s activation system buckles under weight HTC EVO 4G rush

With Sprint launching their HTC EVO 4G today, we expected to see a rush of Android fans vying to put an EVO in their pockets, but it seems even Sprint was surprised by the onslaught of customers. We’re getting reports that Sprint’s mobile phone activation system took a nose dive as the carrier struggled to activate all the EVO 4G handsets going out the door.

If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because we saw AT&T’s activation system going through the same growing pains when it launched the original iPhone back in 2007. AT&T has since learned how to cope with launch day rushes and it seems Sprint’s first encounter with a blockbuster launch has proven to be a learning experience.

What’s going on here? Well, the Sprint HTC EVO 4G is hands down the hottest Android phone of 2010. The EVO’s 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera (with dual-LED flash and 720p HD video recording), 4G data connection, WiFi, GPS and Android 2.1 OS make the smartphone almost irresistible to gadget geeks like us. So irresistible, in fact, that sheer volume of customers lining up to activate an EVO of their own has proven too much for Sprint’s computer system to handle.

Some reports even have Sprint’s entire system coming to a grinding halt, as the carrier straight up sold out of EVO handsets. It’s so bad that store employees are apparently writing receipts by hand.

Did you get your HTC EVO 4G today? If so, how went your activation process?

Oh, and don’t forget to check out our EVO review here!

[Via: Engadget]

  • Raz

    3 painful hours……it's worth it tho……..good bye IPhone

    • mikey

      2 hours but it was worth it, last year i waited for 2 1/2 for the pre, and this was WORTH the wait, i cannot believe how awesome this phone is …. i liked webOS but this Android device was quick and with the 4G, it loads web pages faster than my 2 year old pc….. AMAZING!!! went to Radio Shack, pre-ordered mine, still took the 2 hours…. but worth it, no wait on rebate, free $20 in accessories (took the car charger)….amazing i will not look back and i look forward to next June's upgrade, unlike palm, I know Htc/Google will deliver!!!!

  • Killer Ant

    Oh yeah! I got an EVO today and I must say that getting the phone activated was a huge hassle. I pre-ordered my EVO from a local Radio Shack and sure enough, the computer systems had crashed and the Radio Shack sales line was busy for about 3 hours, until the rep finally got someone on the line to assist with my activation. I must say, however, it was all worth it. The HTC EVO 4G is an amazing phone. Sure I've only had it for a few hours, but its definitely looking promising and it can only get better.

    • Karyn

      We got 3 phones Friday, our appointment was at 7am and it only took 1 hour to activate all 3 phones at Radio Shack… They did an awsome job! Love the phone!

  • Robert

    Best Buy did a good job. They set up every one on appointments. My appointment was at 10:30 this morning and I got to the store at 10:15.. It took 45 minutes because their online system crashed… Best Buy (at least at my local store in Murfreesboro, TN) had dedicated employees who were working on JUST the EVO. They even told me who my rep was going to be Thursday night when they called to confirm my appointment. Well while trying over and over again to get into the online system the rep I was dealing with just called the # they have for activations and she was on hold 37 minutes before she got in and then it took maybe 2 minutes to finish up the activation. I feel bad for the people behind me though…. I got in and the other appointments were starting to stack up behind me because of the system crash.. Again I had a 10:30 appointment and they got started on me 10 minutes early. They were able to quickly shut off my other phone and that is when the system crashed… FUN!!!!!

    • Kevin

      Dang, my store is Murfreesboro, too. I pre-ordered mine last Sunday, so hopefully mine will come in soon. I can't wait!

      • Robert

        Good luck my Friend…. It's an AMAZING PHONE!!!!! Love it very much

  • Luke

    Got my Evo today and it still is not activated! They said it would take about 4 hours to activate and that was about 14 hours ago…….

    • Jameser

      I have same problem I’m running on 13 hours still nothing they told me 4 hours at the mostt

  • Alf

    Got it today after AT&T got rid of their unlimited plan. However, the store did have to try a couple of times to succesfully activate it. I love how AT&T claims that 98% of their users will not be affected by the plan change. If so than 2% of the users are bringing down their systems? B$ I think is the correct answer.

  • Damion Fivenson

    The Best Buy in Ann Arbor MI, set up appts with the people that preordered it, plus they opened at 8 am, from what ive gathered, everything went quite smoothly.

  • ben

    my activation went smooth and i didn't pick up my phone till like 3pm

  • GoogleIO Attendee

    I didn't get my EVO today, I was one of the few proud people to get one from Google I/O 2010, before it hit stores.

    Sad part is… it's registered to Google and Sprint wasn't able to re-activate it to my personal number when I called them earlier this week. I guess I'll just have to enjoy the free service with a random phone number until the 20th =P

    The phone is awesome though!

  • Mark

    No problems here in Florida! Got mine first thing this morning and didn't have any issues with the activation. The Sprint store was even nice enough to open @ 7:30 to let some of us having to go to work today get in and out without blowing the entire first half of the day!

    Thanks Sprint and I love my EVO!

  • YC1980

    I bought my EVO today. System crashed at Radioshack and i waited 2 hours to get my EVO. well worth the wait. Hand written contract.

  • @BillDyszel

    It was slow – Best Buy personnel did the best they could with a system that keep hanging up and slowing down. It took about an hour to get it done, but I did get my Evo.

  • aaron

    I got mine this morning in beaumont tx after standing in line from 6am. They opened the doors at 8am after handing out juice and snacks. I was # 4 in line and the only hitch they had was very slow activations. It took about 30 minutes per phone, but the staff was awesome and the phone absolutely rules!

  • Naga Hariharan

    It worked beautifully for me. No problems at all.

  • Pat

    I had a 10:30am appt at Best Buy. They were already uable to access the Sprint system. My guy called Sprint service on his iPhone to activate my phone. He finally gave her all of the information and she was just about to complete activation when his iPhone dropped the call. He had unkind things to say about At&T. After the next call and three transfers my phone was activated and I was able to leave. Many were waiting and some were rude.

    • Bryan J Faber

      Omg that had to be disappointing almost there and fail…atnt crappy network higher prices, at the least sprint should be behind verizon not atnt! My sprint opend at 6 am was 4th but got out first

  • Colin

    sure did. Had to try to activate about three or four times before it went through. Radioshack was slow because Sprints website was at a standstill and their phones were overwhelmed with people calling in.

  • Michael

    Yes… I got my hTC Evo today!! Fantastic phone in all aspects. Really advanced phone! I got one for me and one for the wife. One device activated immediately and the other took a couple of quick tries. Eventually activating hands free! No more than a couple of minutes for both. I pre-ordered both phones through my local RadioShack store! I was there at 6:15am to pick up the phones. There was a line at the Radio Shack that I was at! When was the last time that Sprint, or RadioShack for that matter, has seen a line at 6a.m. The clerk told me that the had 20 pre-ordered phones. They only had ONE phone that wasn't pre-ordered. That means only one lucky customer will get to walk in and purchase this advanced device. SPRINT has hit a home run!

  • smith

    As soon as my number was called they started the activation process, the system crashed. I had to wait two hours for them to be able to activate my new Evo. The Sprint store I went to sold out of units by 6pm.

  • Eric

    I got te EVO today and the activation was seemless. The phone is even better! The Sprint crew was able to get me my new phone, transfer all my data and give me in-depth training in less than an hour. I have to tell you, this phone is living up to all the hype.

  • Eric

    I got the EVO today and the activation was seemless. The phone is even better! The Sprint crew was able to get me my new phone, transfer all my data and give me in-depth training in less than an hour. I have to tell you, this phone is living up to all the hype.

  • Jason D.

    The system went down at about 16:15 and did not come back online before the end of the biz day. I was there at about 15:45 and waited until 19:00(broke for dinner at the Applebees next-door). A Sales Rep with a lax attitude walked the floor informing us of the situation. I asked if they were going to take our names and numbers, so we would get an Evo when they fixed the problem. He looked at me, nodded and said it wasn't possible and they weren't going to do it. LOL, an hour later he was doing that very thing. I'm glad someone at the top offered a solution, it could have been a very bad day for Sprint.

  • Dr. Evo

    I arrived at my local Best Buy at 9am and I was the 2nd person to arrive at the store. The whole process took close to 45 minutes. There really wasn't any issues at all except about midway through … that's when the activation system began to move slowly. The cust svc rep stated it was probably because so many people were trying to activate Evo's at the same time. Overall, the process was seemless. I have my phone and I am a VERY happy Evo customer!

  • Patricia

    I was one of the first ten in the store this am so I had no problem activating my phone. So far I love it. Still trying to take it all in.

  • G-man

    I got mine at Radio Shack right when they opened this morning, there were 3 or 4 other there too, all went smooth. The phone is freaking awesome, but as some have reported, the battery is gonna be an issue. A bigger one, or creative power settings are gonna be in order.

    • LaJuan

      Yes, so far the battery life sucks. My evo was slightly used today and I had to put it back on the charger just under eleven hours.

  • Lifendz

    It was crazy. I went to a Sprint store and, with only one person in front of me, waiting an hour. An hour. Every single rep that was behind a register was waiting on the computer to process the order. When I finally got to the front, I waited for about an hour as the girl "helping" me stared at the computer and attempted to sell me everything. When the order finally came to the "I need your credit card" part, she told me I had to buy 2 peripherals: a case and a screen protector. F that. I went to Radio Shack and waiting for their system to process the order but at least I got the phone for 199.99 without having to wait for the rebate check. Loving the phone though. I think it was worth it.

  • breethignmartyr

    it took me from 7 in the morning to 10 in the morning. i got a free charger and 25 bucks off the phone tho straight from the managers pocket so im cool, and the phone is amazing

  • guest

    snagged the first EVO at the store near me – had put a deposit on it a few weeks ago. lucky – they only had 10 phones at that store. showed up at 8:30, got my phone, hooked it up in a manner of minutes. no problems with activation and it was instantly ready to use.

  • nuttymac

    When my radioshack opened 4 people in the front of line were fighting to get their hands on the first HTC EVO, in the store. I decided to leave and come back 5hrs later, but my phone took 3hrs to register. The wait was well worth it, and I'm impressed by the browsing speed, especially when my city was chosen to host 4G.

  • Mary

    When I walked in the store there were 32 people in front of me..I thought…oh geeeez here we go again…well to my surprise an hour later i walked out with the Evo and have been loving it every since. Sprint had fully staffed their store and there were plenty of phones on hand. Kudos to you Sprint!!!!

  • minisegan

    Best Buy Mobile did an OK job. I had an 11 o'clock (EST) appointment for my EVO and when I arrived a few minutes early, I heard the employees mention that the system was crawling. By the time I sat down at a station around 11.15 am, the system had totally crashed. I sat at the window for 2.5 hours as the employees tried to test the system and trick it into working. Worse, the activation line the employees called had a ridiculous wait time and continually hung up on them. They apologized and actually went out to get drinks for the appointments that were backing up. By 1 o'clock the district manager had gone into the back and pulled out courtesy gift cards for the 3 of us waiting the longest to use toward our purchase. All in all, it was OK since I got the phone and a $50 acc bundle (car charger, zapp screen protector, and body glove) for $200 out of pocket :-). And I'm LOVING the phone!!!!

  • Smooth

    I got mine about 2:30 this afternoon from the Sprint store near me. I had absolutely no problems at all. I was in and out in about a half hour.

  • Diane

    Yes… the activation was the worst part. The computer keep freezing and the Sprint tech had to literally call it in after attempting to activate my phone on two different computers! However, everyone in the store tried very hard to be kind and accommodating, and apologized profusely. The phone is awesome and I'm glad I got it. I did spend a little more than an hour in the store.

  • herbsoe

    radio shack scheduled me at 9:45am …called me at 8am and said that they were having problems….i was #4 ..called them every other hour and they kept saying they would call me back. then around 1230pm i started going wtf? they said come in …..took 2 hours….but i paid 170 with customer survey coupon and i used their 20 dollar gift card to buy a car charger wich came with a pack of screen protectors to get me by

  • MDV

    I had an appointment at Best Buy in Long Beach CA at 10am this morning. After 2 1/2 hours in the store, still no activation. I've been trying to activate all day myself, still no luck. Going back to Best Buy tomorrow.

  • Ray

    I preordered two EVO's. One for me and one for my girl friend. My appointment at BB was for 11:30am 6/4. I got there about 30 minutes early, waited an hour and was told I'd have to come back because they could not activate my handset. I went back 5 hours later and still was not able to complete the transaction due to sprints activation system being down. I am hoping to be able to pick up my devices in the morning when BB opens back up, I must say I spent my entire drive home pouting because I have wanted this phone for so long. I know there is nothing BB could have done differently, but still…

  • Ilya K.

    Waited in line at a Bestbuy here in Chicago for nearly two hours because the system was stuck as 3 people ahead of me waited in agony to get activated. Finally, as my turn approached next, an employee who had been helping the others get activated asked if I had an appointment.

    I said no…and she said they had no more phones available. They opened at 10:00, I got there at 10:40 and there were only 2 people ahead of me in line, and the 3 who were with the sales people waiting to be activated! I guess they got in a whopping 5 phones!

    Next, I go to a Radio Shack location after wasting 2 hours of my life for nothing…and they inform me that they had one left. They asked me if I wanted it! Um…YEAH!! DUH!!!
    There, I spent an additional 2 hours waiting on the system to pull through…which it did…after the 5th try!!

    Overall, I am completely enamored with this phone and it's service…so far! LOL!!! Well worth all the trouble. I love Apple products, but, um…what's an iPhone again?? =)

  • Titan

    The guy before me got his in 15 minutes. It took me two and a half hours and that was doing everything over the phone rather than through the system. I was surprised Best Buy gave away free bluetooth headsets to counter The Shack's accessories deal; I hadn't seen that news in the last few weeks.

  • Titan

    And I wanted to throw in about the SD card problem. I had read about the "permissions" bug and my wife's Evo came up with the error when she opened the camera app. However, she hadn't applied the firmware update yet and after she did, the error never reappeared. I had applied the update right away and never received the error myself. So it seems HTC/Sprint fixed the issue.

  • scottwyp

    Awesome job in corona ca, @sprint store they had a plan were out in front of store at 7am gave tickets, took people in orderly fashion 10 at a time and even had refreshments. Way to go sprint corona ca. Alos the phone is as good as it gets!

  • Ben

    got the Evo at a Best Buy in Ohio around 10am. Everything went fine, but took about 45min because they had problems connecting to Sprints activation network.

  • Chris

    Best Buy scheduled me for an appointment at 6PM EST. I walked out of the store at 6:20PM EST with a fully activated handset. This included some time to talk about accessories and protection plans.

    Overall, my experience today was painless and smooth. Its surprising considering it was Best Buy.

  • reynmahker

    i waited tell 5 pm and still had to wait in small line at BB but it went smoooth after that . I LOVE IT

  • wtf awesome

    Radio shack only had 3 evos and which 2 of them were mine (pre-oredered). The activation was horrible and had to get back to work before the phones were done. got back to radio shack at 5 to get phones. drove home & tried them out. They were not f***ing activated. so went back that night and took another hour on phone with sprint. All done. I guess it was worth it cause I "played" with phone all night & up early thinking about phone. this was a big jump from a basic carrier to sprint with an actual data plan. Great phone!

  • kirk

    well i am still waiting still.

    went to best buy and they told me there systems were down and i cant get my phone and that they call sprint and there was a message that sprint is not even accepting call so i am still waiting

  • Still waiting for my evo : (

    I pre ordered my phone with bestbuy last sunday. we were told we might have to wait till june11 for the preorder to come in or come early to pick up phone the would have for customers who didnt pre order. well i was the first on online @ best buy and was very disappointed when i was told bestbuy was only sent the preordered phones from the first batch. but i did get a look at the activate model they had there and it is a beauty. oh yeah and before bestbuy opened there was a sprint rep trying get to purchase at the sprint store instead of best buy it was the funniest thing. i told him sorry dude if i go to sprint i have to pay a extra 200 bucks even thou its a mail in rebate (200 because im getting two phones) and i wont see the rebate till the end of the summer no thank you! i thought to myself if i would of went to sprint i would of been writing this from my evo instead of my instinct. but its ok if i waited this long whats another week right? (sigh) anyhow i think sprint purposely didnt send out extra phones to bestbuy to try to get all the business.

  • knn

    first one in local shack at 7:50 am and was out the door by 8:10am, no issues

  • Loriodro

    My son and I each got the Evo yesterday and we were in and out of Best Buy within 2 hours, and that included transfering our contacts (some by hand) to the new phones AND my husband's contacts into my old Pre. It was organized and on time and I can't say enough good things about our rep Robert at the Best Buy in New Tampa, a really great experience on what could have been a really crazy day. They were also offering a case, zagg shield, and car charger bundle for $59 and we each got a free bluetooth. We won't buy phones anywhere else!

  • pekosty

    Was in line at 7:30 and was the 20th in line. Sprint Store did awesome job and had coffee and donuts for us. They let 6 in the store at a time and was very controlled. Was on my way to work at 9:15. Played all day and all night with the phone. ITS AWESOME!!!

  • Bob

    Got to my Sprint store at 07:00 and was the fifth person in line to my surprise. They passed out flyers, took our names and phone numbers and answered questions outside. After the doors opened they started activating phones. There was a bit of a delay with the semi system- crash but I was activated, data uploaded and out of the door within 45 minutes. The phone is in a word…..awesome. Cudos to Sprint.

  • Morgan

    i actually work at a sprint store and we experienced no problems activating or ordering evos throughout the day! i believe sprint was very well prepared for the launch and must say this launch went much smoother than the previous big launch of the Pre.

  • dan

    Got mine at best buy, and was the first one there for the appointments. took over 2 hours to actually get out the door with a working evo. about an hour later, my screen was flickering, which a little later turned into the back light completely turned off, nothing could be seen on the screen at all. Went back to best buy, and they were willing to get me a new one, but could possibly be 3 weeks until it would come in. So I decided to get the incredible and go with Verizon.

  • Chris

    I bought mine yesterday from our local spring store on the southside of Indianapolis. I showed up at 5 oclock in the evening, and they had 10 left. It took about 2 hours to do everything. All recepits were done by hand, and they still just billed my account instead of having me pay for it there. The 100 dollar bundle pack I got was worth it too. I got a bluetooth headset, car mount, car charger, screen protectors, and case. This is my first android phone (leaving behind the instinct, what a waste) and so far I like. Only thing is, the battery sucks…but this could be due to my first encounter with the droid market :) Good job sprint, I have been a customer for 20 years, it is about time you guys release a phone that is worth a shit.

  • Ashley

    the sprint store I went to yesterday got more Evo's from another store but it didn't matter cuz their system was down. The sales rep told me to call when they opened today to see if the system was up & running yet. He also said he would save a phone for me. I called & they're systems up but he said he forgot to save one for me. There are no words to describe how pissed off I am right now!

  • Ben

    I live in Santa Barbara, CA where most of the business users seem to be Verizon customers and the 'hip" community are Apple Fanboys. So I walked into the only Sprint store in town, where I encountered a short line, but was nevertheless out the door in about 40 minutes (and as of 11am they still had at least a couple of cases of Evos left).

    On my way home, I saw my phone was in "The network is preparing your services" mode. It did time out after about 10 minutes stating it couldn't complete the process. I was still able to use and access everything on the phone. A couple of hours later I went to "update profile" and the process completed in less than a minute. I also got the new HTC software update immediately after getting the phone, and that went through quickly and without a hitch.

    Sprint is also putting up some good EVO support articles on their site. You can get to them quickly by going to "my devices".

  • steve shiller

    Radio Shack opened 1 hr early for me @ 8:30. No one else there. Out by 9:00. It was an awesome experience.

  • Chris

    We live in Lynchburg, VA. I got in line yesterday at 7:50 to purchase our EVO's from the local Sprint corporate store. There were about 15 people already in line. I had no issue picking up my EVO and getting it activated. The only thing we are waiting for is to have our numbers transferred from our old phones to the EVO. The store employee said they should have that software capability sometime next week.

  • Terri

    I must have been really lucky. We arrived late at the Sprint store, (it opened at 8, we got there at 8:20) and there were no lines. We were greeted with juice and snacks, and taken immediately. Only snag was that at activation, the contacts entered twice, so salesperson had to restart. Other than that, smooth sailing. I was determined not to leave the mall without one, but had no clue we could have slept late. They still had plenty more available after we left.

  • Jan Klincewicz

    Service in the Upper Darby, PA store was typically slow, but in the defense of their employees, they DO NOT RUSH the customers. They will explain every detail and answer every stupid question until the customer is satisfied which is great when you are at the counter, but not waiting in line. The made people sign in, and then ignored the sheet as people butted in line based on their apparent size and menacing appearance.

    It took a few tried, but my whole process was probably 90 minutes (walked in 8:30) At first I was pissed that it was Micro-USB when all my accessories are mini, but I guess that is the way of the future. What REALLY ticks me off is the leather case is VERY tight with the silicone skin on the phone. Also I miss the track ball.

    Sprint has no extra batteries for sale. I kept three for my Hero in rotation.

  • Ryan

    I bought four EVO's and all were activated in the store in less than 10 minutes. Did not have the same problems described. 4G not as strong as I hoped

  • barry

    2 hours, left and came back after work. It was worth it!! Sprint reps did a good job under circumstances. Mine will get a 5 star review

  • preston

    Well I got my EVO at the shak and it was a pleasant experience, took about twenty minutes when they started working with me. And the phone is unbelievable! Not even thinking about an iphone anymore, we’ll see what happens Monday. Steve. Jobs has got some competition.

  • EVO guy

    I was at The Shack for 3 hours waiting for activation It was so bad that they had to call corporate reps in and security I could not believe this. The snap system they use was lagging freezing and apparently my order disappeared in the computer.

  • Roller_69_01

    i got the evo 4g yesterday. And have spent all of yesterday and half of today on the phone with sprints customer service and tech support trying to activate my new evo. and they have yet to get it activated. there system wont let it activate on my current number or plan.

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