Every mobile smartphone I have owned has required a first stage of "activation". This process requires an internet connection; alluding to a process aside of a CDMA or GSM connection, or cellular network registration. Both the iPhone and the Google-biased Android devices require this internet-based communication process. An android phone having activation software removed will authenticate and function normally within a mobile network, for example.
What is the purpose of requiring "authentication" of a mobile device? What are the security and privacy implications of distributing a device requiring such a process; with no explanation as to why the process is required?