How Orange screwed up the iPhone launch

Posted on June 25, 2010

I must admit Orange showed us the perfect example of how to not anticipate… As you probably know yesterday was the new iPhone launch (4th launch for Orange France). I had pre-ordered mine on the 22nd of June with Orange got shipped on time and delivered yesterday. On the logistics side they did quite well.

I couldn’t get mine on the 24th as I was busy so it arrived at Cisco for me and waited until Friday. On Friday got it, unpacked it, loaded the backup of my 3GS and put in the new Micro SIM card. I had to call the 0800 100 740 which is the Orange SIM card activation number, typed in my 13 digit number for the SIM card and … DRAMA… The number you typed is incorrect. Of course I tried typing it in a few times before deciding to call the customer support.

Nothing… The phone was ringing out in the blue. I gave it up and tried again around midday, got someone who told me it was normal the servers were down because they were too many activations. I kept trying regularly until it finally worked at 7:51pm.

Now Orange, really, how hard would it have been to post a message on you iPhone dedicated site? Was it really so though you couldn’t close the activation portal until the servers returned to a normal load and reopen it gradually? On your 4th iPhone launch couldn’t you anticipate this high demand? iPhone were only available through pre-orders, couldn’t you have anticipated a 50,000 subscribers trying to activate their SIMs?

Result of all this? Fantastic advertisement everywhere on how the iPhone screwed up Orange (yes because it also screwed up all other SIM card activation). Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just communicate instead of having all the blogs / tech sites / news site do it for you?

On my side that had a major impact on the quality I perceived from Orange (which was very high until today…). Lets see how you’ll handle communication to impacted customers now…

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