Activating the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone | John Papa

John Papa

Evangelist on the loose

Activating the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone


I received my Nokia Lumia 900 today and was very excited to open it. I had 3 goals for today:

1) activate it

2) make sure my unlimited data plan was still in place

3) get my apps to the new phone

I accomplished 1 and 2 and I am currently working on 3. I’ll be doing an unboxing post shortly after this here.

Disclaimer: this review is purely about the ordering, activation and setup process. So this is entirely on ATT … I’ll be reviewing the phone and the OS in a later hands on post.


Don’t forget the Micro SIM

Make sure you have a micro sim card before activating. If you went from a Samsung focus, like I did, then this will be key.


This took me about 30 minutes. I tried in vain for 15 minutes online to activate the phone. Eventually, I called Premier Support at 1-866-499-8008 and they had me turn both phones off, call me back on my wife’s cell phone, and then they activated the Lumia 900. In all, it was 30 minutes form when I opened the box and not a great experience, but it certainly could have been much worse. That it did not work online and that the guy kept putting me on hold without explaining anything was not good. But 30 minutes is not terrible. So I give this activation process a generous  7/10.

Data Plan

I formerly had an unlimited data plan on my Samsung Focus. ATT no longer offers that plan. When I ordered the Lumia I made sure that they would put this plan back on my Lumia when I got it. They made a note of it and after 2.5 hours on a Sunday, I felt better about it. Then when I got my phone today I called the number they instructed me to call and they put the unlimited plan back on my phone. I’m very happy that honored their promise and despite the time on the phone, I give this a 8/10. They have me the impression that they will only be doing this for customers who have had the unlimited plan for a long time. Obviously, they are trying to phase it out completely.


I wish the apps would go to the Zune software so when I reconnect to my PC it would just resync them on the new phone. Or with Windows Live it would be great if it noticed the apps were not there, and asked me if I wanted them to be downloaded and installed. Alas, that’s not reality. I had to go through the marketplace and try to find all the apps I had before and install them 1 at a time. The good news is that they queue them up so I can tell it to go install 50 apps. The bad news is that this process really needs to be much simpler and less user involved. Overall, a 5/10 rating for me.

Overall Activation Process

It took a lot of time on the phone beforehand and during the activation and setup process, which really was not fun. I’d rather be spending that time with my family. In the end, it all works, so I am happy … but I give the activation and setup process 6/10 overall simply for the many hours of effort that I had to put into it Sunday and today.

tags: lumia900 nokia windows phone
  • Slobo

    You can find out your app purchase history at
    There is a Reinstall button next to each app you have installed. I’m not sure if it would work after you deactivated your old phone.

  • Slobo
  • Richard Hay

    Just reading your post and have one suggestions re: reinstalling apps – sign into your account at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It will list every app you have ever installed. Easy enough to preuse and click the ones you want to reinstall.

  • john

    Slobo / Richard – Yes, thanks for pointing that out. I did use that technique briefly to reinstall some apps. But it was a real pain when you have 50 apps+ because you still have to select 1 app at a time, agree to some terms, then go back, re-find where you left off in the big list, then repeat. This is where the “cloud” with WIndows Live should just work … during phone setup, ask me if I want my apps installed. Ask if I want all or to choose from a list. Then let me select the ones I want (if I choose that option). Then do it. Done. 15 seconds total.

  • Blaise

    I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard good things about the installer app:
    Although I agree this should all be built in.

  • Bob

    Any idea how long one has to have had the unlimited data plan to be able to move it to a new phone?

  • john

    Bob – Sorry, no idea. Though I heard rumors that the decision tree is similar to the wheel of doom in Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome.

  • bgea

    I was able to select my unlimited data plan online when upgrading, I’ve had it since 2008/2009.
    When upgrading my mom to the same phone, she did not have the unlimited option (she did not have a data plan previously).
    The activation process is terrible, the website instructions do NOT jive w/ the windowsphone set up menus.
    Still.. terrifically excited about the phone.. it’s a beaut!

  • john

    Hey John, I also got the Lumia 900 and the reinstall process of apps was painful. I could not agree with you more on your suggestions. Microsoft knows the apps I had on my old phone and they show them to me in Zune and when I login to the Marketplace. They should ask you if you want to reinstall the apps when you connect your live account up to your phone…(
    and give you the option to wait until you are on wifi…:))

  • Anyahara kelechi

    i need activation code for windows live

  • frank

    How do I get activation code for lumia 900

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