I bought a brand new nokia go phone from Amazon.com It was ATT branded and came in a sealed plastic blister pack.
I called up before installing the sim card and was told I could not port a number over from another carrier over the telephone I had to bring the phone (sim card ) to a AT&T owned store to be activated. After talking to two different people I was finally told that they could activate a new sim card for me but they would have to mail it to me. They said the sim card that was shipped in the blister pack could not be used.
Do these sim cards need to be programmed with information by AT&T or was someone yanking my chain?
This only applies to porting a number - I am presuming the phone could have been activated sans number porting.
I apologize you had issues wtih gettng the SIM card activated that came with your device. In many cases they will not let you activate a SIM card over the phone due to enhanced security for your protection. They would mail you the SIM to the address on file to ensure the account holder gets the SIM.
With that being said, you can go to any Company Retail Store and have a sim card activated in about 30 seconds with proper ID.
The SIM that comes in the device we usually don't use because in many cases will "marry" the SIM card to that device, and if you buy another device and attempt to use that SIM you will need to get a new one. The ones the Retail Stores and CCARE send out do not do this and makes it easier on you to switch phones.
It should not have made any difference if you were porting a number or not.
*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.