See UPDATE below on how to instantly activate your iPhone 4S.
I used to scratch my head wondering what the fuss was all about when people use to complain about AT&T. But seeing this screen for the past 3 hours helps me understand.
I received my new iPhone 4S at noon today and have been unable to activate it hence not able to use it. A visit to the AT&T store didn’t help either. The customer service representative insisted I call Apple since I bought it via the Apple Store. Why would a hardware and software company be able to resolve what is clearly a cellular carrier issue is beyond me. But his insistence that they were told that by the management implied he too knew it was a load of bull. Also, note how the two paragraphs in the error message contradict each other (Am I in an activation queue that will eventually get addressed or should I keep trying?) Well, I hope it gets activated soon until then you can chalk it up as a first world problem.
PS. My 3GS is still working fine and unaware that it will soon be replaced.
UPDATE: Finally figured out how to get your iPhone 4S activated. Get out of your WiFi zone and attempt to activate it in a 3G zone. Voila! Worked for me the first time I tried and within a minute.