AT&T has moved to speed up the pace of iPhone purchases in the US as the holiday season approaches, introducing a new online account setup system.

This system means customers can set up accounts online before heading to the nearest store to activate and complete the purchase, reducing in-store wait times/

The online service lets customers initiate a pre-qualifying credit check and can also find out if it is possible to port an existing phone number to AT&T in advance.

The new AT&T online service joins Apple’s existing offering to give customers the fastest way to get up and running with their new iPhone 3G by starting the setup process online and finishing in the store.