Incoming was blocked, and here is how I fixed it.
Teeming with jealously over my colleague Taimoor Hafeez’s iPhone 4 and finally wanting to break away from the Samsung not-so-Jet, I gave in and bought myself an iPhone 4. I didn’t want to change my number, so I went for Etisalat’s 16GB iPhone 4 data package plan 1.
Before purchase, I expected glitch free transition to my new phone and expected great service as Etisalat has always been good for me, at least in terms of signal strength.
How dare I?!
The problems began from the purchase itself. Unable to find stock at the nearest Etisalat center, I decided to purchase one from the Etisalat stall in Sahara Mall (they are sold out now, by the way). There, I was initially turned away saying that a pre-paid number cannot be transferred to a post-paid number for the iPhone 4. What? I caught the next CSR at the stall and thankfully, he had a bit of knowledge. After going through the cumbersome process of getting a copy of my passport when they denied using my yet-to-be-used Emirates ID, the CSR registered my number and told me to come a whole day later to get things rolling. Guess, what though? The process took 15mins flat and I was too stuck in Sharjah’s traffic to bother going back.
Next day, I was informed that I will be getting a new number, despite telling the CSR specifically that I wanted the data plan on the same number. Hell, why would I register my old number to get a new number? The CSR went “aha” and then pulled out a SIM card replacement form with a swipe of his hand. The form would fetch me the micro SIM card needed for the iPhone in, guess what?, a whole day later. I came back the next day and was turned away as the supervisor who activates the iPhone would not come before 7pm.
That’s two days worth of trouble for a process that takes no less than 15mins collectively. Finally, I was handed over my shiny new black device and the dual SIM card package. I asked the procedure to meter my bandwidth and expectantly, the service code provided by the CSR did not work. I couldn’t be bothered with them anymore.
Firing up the device, I went through the usual procedure to check if everything was working fine – music player, movie, touch screen and finally call quality. Everything good and dandy, I thought.
Today I called up our head-honcho Hitesh Uchil to ask what time he would be coming to the office after his meeting. He told me he had SMS’ed me the details. SMS, what SMS? I called up my brother and asked for him to send me a text message. Nope. Then it clicked: I can’t receive either calls or SMS, but I can make them. And then in a flash of terror it dawned on me: I will have to call 101. Oh boy.
Frustrating doesn’t quite capture what I went through with the 101 CSRs. Everyone suggested I to reboot despite telling them I have already done it. I am in tech, I know the reboot joke. After six calls to different CSRs, I finally got someone telling me a service code to activate my SIM card for incoming. The code was *149*1#. It didn’t work even though it told me the activation was successful. I was told to reset Networking Settings and Phone Settings, but those didn’t help either. Finally a CSR said “You will have to go to the head office for a replacement”. This pretty much sums up my feelings.
In desperation to seek out a workaround, and avoid dealing with Etisalat at all costs, I decided to hard reset the device, deleting all the contents and settings. After the reboot, the phone became inaccessible except for emergency calls. The phone needed an iTunes connection, which I promptly presented, and it somehow fixed my no-incoming issue.
If you face the same problem, here is what you can do:
- Hard reset your iPhone 4 by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
- The phone will boot up and give you the emergency call screen
- Plug it in and fire iTunes. The phone will instantly boot the iPhone homescreen.
- Now dial *149*1# and wait for the ‘successful’ confirmation
- Trying giving your number a call
Of course, this may not necessarily work for everyone but it did for me and saved me a trip to the dark corners of Etisalat. I have sudden profound love for iTunes.