First she came for my Internet service. Then she came for my cell phone!
Okay, I know it's anachronistic to refer to AT&T as “Ma Bell.” Those good old days are mostly gone, even if the company with the Death Star logo has gobbled up a number of smaller operations in the years since the big break-up. (Apparently we don't mind monopolies nearly as much as we used to in olden times. Life is much simpler with only a few phone companies and a handful of banks. I mean, what could go wrong?)
In my case, AT&T solemnly informed me that my DSL service was being discontinued. Not to worry! I would be offered a wonderful opportunity to upgrade to fiber-optical U-verse! My speed would increase and my costs would stay the same. Furthermore, I could sign up for all kinds of new digital television and music services. Yippee.
Okay. I guess I can survive a day without the Internet and e-mail. Surely I would be back on-line before the withdrawal cramps and hallucinations became too debilitating.
He had made short work of it.
“You're all set. Your twisted-pair DSL connection is now fiber-optical U-verse.”
“Already? The instructions said I'd be back on-line this evening.”
“Nope, you're ready to go right now. You received the equipment? Yes? Go ahead and fire it up.”
Apparently AT&T prefers not to tell its customers that the connection is ready to use as soon as the technician's visit is finished. Good thing I bothered to say hello to him.
Sure enough, I set up the U-verse “modem” and returned to the land of the digital. Are things faster? Not that I've noticed. Did I sign up for lots of wonderful new entertainment options? No, not a one. Is the cost the same? So far.
Yippee. Serenity returned to my life.
AT&T is constantly upgrading the [wireless] network, and we're not done yet. When the network is improved certain older-model phones, like yours, will no longer be able to make or receive calls or access data.Apart from that, though, my phone should be just fine.
After years of procrastinating (although “all my friends were doing it”), I finally acquired my first cell phone in 2000. I signed up with AT&T Wireless and got a nice Ericsson A2638SC phone. I stashed it in my car and there it mostly remained. Eventually AT&T sold its cell-phone business to Cingular, whereupon I ended up with a new Motorola V180. As you may know, AT&T later changed its mind and bought out Cingular. Hence I began with AT&T Wireless and I returned to AT&T Wireless all without moving a muscle.
The youngsters may well give me the same reaction that my father gave me the last time we discussed cell phones. (Wrong word: say, rather, when he interrogated me about cell phones.) How many minutes do you have? Do they roll over? Is weekend calling unlimited? How about international numbers? Blah, blah, blah. At least AT&T's minions will be more interested in extolling the virtues of today's spiffy new calling plans than in decrying my old one. Dad, however, was just fishing for information, wanting to compare notes. He grew quite exasperated as I expressed in detail my ignorance: How many minutes? More than enough. Roll over? Beats me. Weekends? Doesn't matter; I never use up my minutes anyway. International calls? I guess; we called Ukraine on it a couple of times.
The funny thing about it is that I am the numbers person, but I am not just pretending to be blasé about my phone plan. I actually don't have any reason to give it much thought or care. It's cheap and I never exhaust the minutes. I'm certain I average less than 10 minutes per month on the thing. No, really. This summer it jumped up a bit more because I've done a little traveling to book events and stuff. Hmm. Perhaps I should take my phone more seriously.
So what's going to happen at the AT&T store? Will I give in to the impulse to acquire a smart phone and be plugged into the world at all times? I wonder. If the phone is going to sit in the car like my current one does, it won't much matter, will it?
Blah, blah, blah.