Friday, October 12, 2012

FaceTime and iMessage don't work on MNP numbers in India

That's quite unfortunate so far that FaceTime and iMessage services are not working on my iPhone 4S, and the conclusion I got from back and forth communications between Airtel CustomerCare and Apple Support teams is that if the mobile number is ported from any other carrier within India (in my case it was from Reliance to Airtel) there are some server level profiles which don't get migrated completely through MNP process which may make problems in activation of FaceTime and iMessage services at Apple Server. I'm not sure if that's the end of story, but this is my case and I'm not able to use these services on my mobile number as yet.

OK, here is the whole story so far;

  • I bought the brand new iPhone from US early this year, and got it factory unlocked in India.
  • I attempted about 25+ times for these services activation, and every time it took about 5+ hours with 'waiting for activation...' message and then end up with 'Activation Unsuccessful.' message (you know there's an international SMS charges involved upon each attempt?) so bad!!!
  • I checked with Apple Support in India first, they suggested to make sure; (1) i have my own name in my contacts, with my number with country code set as 'iPhone' type. (2) i have selected my name under: Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendar->My Info. (3) i have selected correct time zone of my country at: Settings->General->Date & Time. And, re-try activation. I called them up about 5-6 times, every time different person who comes with different idea. Some ideas like; hard reboot phone, re-insert sim card, bla-bla... but every time rubbish messages it comes back with. (My case #346734158. You can refer to them if you have same problem, they should be able to know your problem much faster, otherwise they'll take few days to understand what you are saying?)
  • LoL.. One guy told me to wait for about 8 days as iOS6 was rolling out. He said there are many fixes around FaceTime in that new version, and it may help. Actually, I didn't help! :(
  • In between I also talked to Airtel Technical Support staff, who also played with me a lot. They kept saying everything is fine at their end, but still I should try replacing with a new SIM card. Nice sales trick. But OK, another try.. and they sold me an expensive plan too under 'Airtel Money' package because they didn't have normal SIM card for replacements. I didn't have another option so went ahead, but....................... I'm still there from where I began.
  • Apple finally told me it's a MNP issue, that my number is not ported-in completely into new provider. In India, this is a common problem with FaceTime and iMessages activation. Neither I or they were convinced that this is the valid case, but that makes a little sense too as when I tried original Airtel SIM card in my same iPhone, and both FaceTime and iMessages services work seamlessly. The only difference I can think of is that one number is MNP'd into Airtel.
As of now, I'm using these services with my Apple ID which is not a bad compromise!

I thought sharing this here may help someone to save time. I wasted a lot of time behind this problem. Please let me know if you get or know any solution of this weird situation? I can't change my number again. :(

Smile!