How to Set Up Your New Phone

Activating the Phone
Think that setting up your new phone is as easy as taking out of the box and making a test call? Yeah Right :) You will soon learn that nothing in cellular and wireless is that simple, sorry.

First rule of thumb, if you are purchasing your cell phone in a retail store you should do the activation process while you are still in the store. Activating the phone means enabling it for service so that it can make and receive a call. Oftentimes you may get a phone that has a number assigned to it but it is not able to make or received a call until you have went through a little process that registers the phone on the cellular network and verifies you as the authorized user of the phone.

Before you walk out the store make sure you can receive and place a call. If you can do this, then it is a matter of going home, plugging the adapter into the phone and charging the phone for the recommended time (see charging the phone below).

If your phone doesn't work please see the following for possible resolutions:

WELCOME CALL VERIFICATION or Cannot Dial Out On Your New Phone
If you received the phone by mail or did not check to make sure you activated the phone before you left the store, then you may have to call in and do a self-initiated activation. Sometimes the cell phone providers (most of the major ones except for T-Mobile) have a consumer activated welcome call that ¡¥locks the phone¡¦ for security purposes. Imagine if a phone was shipped and ended up at the wrong address or was lost in transit. If someone opened that phone and just started dialing random numbers, you would effectively be responsible for those calls. So to verify that you personally received your phone the cell phone companies activate a special greeting that requires you to dial into customer care. If you try to make a call from the cell phone it will give you some message that says you are not authorized to make calls or you need to dial into a number.

On Verizon Wireless phones
You usually begin this process by pressing:
* 228 (then press send or the button to make a call)
1. Press Star Key
2. Then dial 2 2 8
3. Press Send or Call Button
4. Follow Voice Activated Prompts

On ATT/Cingular Wireless dial any phone number from the phone and it will take you to an audio recording where it will ask you to enter some personal information such as your social security number (if it is a personal account) or your tax id (if it is a business account). If you are a user within a corporate account you should ask the person who issued you with the phone to make the call in to do the activation verification. NOTE: There is a process where they can activate the account and not have to do it one by one.

On Sprint/Nextel Phones when you try to place your first call and dial any number from your phone it will provide you with the special 'Welcome Phone Number' that you need to dialto verify the account.

From any cell phone you may call customer care or dial 611 and press send from your cell phone which will take you to your cell phone company's customer care department.

Bought a second hand cell phone, used phone from Ebay, Craigslist, Online or Newspaper (Phone Won't Activate)?

So let's say you found a screaming good deal on a cell phone through an online source, a bid auction site or your local newspaper. You receive the phone or BlackBerry in the mail and it¡¦s in pristine condition as promised, all the accessories are there and all the features seem to work. You call in to customer care and they activate a new number or move over your old phone number and tell you that the activation should go through in 2-24 hours. You anxiously wait a day and it is still not working. So you are frustrated and you call into customer care. They walk you through the troubleshooting process and after numerous transfers the problem is still unresolved. So now you are all pissed off so you send an email of choice words to the person who sold you the phone and you demand your money back and make threats for false promises ;-)


Think of purchasing a cell phone on line as kind of like going to a corporate chain restaurant to eat out. You are the patron, the seller is the hostess and the cell phone company is the waiter.

Before you sit down to eat, the waiter needs to clean the table from the mess left by the previous patron.

After you receive the phone in the mail, think of it as like the table that hasn¡¦t been cleaned yet. Before you can truly enjoy your dining experience the waiter needs to clear it and reset it. In the world of cellular and wireless we call this a manual reprogramming of the phone. If you activate a phone and it is not working within a few hours you will need to call the customer care department and tell them that you brought the phone from a private seller and you need to have the phone reset. They will walk you through a manual reprogramming where they will give you a short sequence of keys to press on your cell phone, then they will do what they do what they call and over the air activation (OTA) which will send a special code over the wireless airwaves that tells your phone that it now has a new number and/or owner. The activation should go through within a matter of minutes provided that one you are in a place where you have coverage and two there are no cell phone service outages in your area. A little text message should come through to say OTA ok or your phone number is: 555-555-1212 and you should be good to go.

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