I've had AT&T for my wireless service for a very long time - since before they were AT&T, in fact. My cell phone says it's from Cingular, so I've had it for a while (obviously I don't upgrade every year or two like some folks do - I'd still have my old analog phone if it hadn't been rendered useless by the switch to all-digital technology). But now the time has come to move on.
The fact is, I was never thrilled with my AT&T service primarily due to poor signal strength in most of the areas I frequent. Dropped calls were pretty common and pockets of no service at all were not unheard of ("Can you hear me now?" No.) But still, my cell phone needs are pretty minimal (20 minutes of talk time is a big month for me) so I tolerated it. And every time I considered switching, something happened to make me renew my contract with them (most recently Alex' desire for an iPhone which at the time was available exclusively from AT&T).
Last week a remarkable confluence of events lined up to change the situation dramatically. The principal motivator was that the iPhone was starting to act strange and appeared to be on its last legs - clearly a replacement was going to be required. So I went on-line to check on the status of my contract with
AT&T and discovered that both lines were out of the two-year contract period! I was free to go anywhere I wanted to go.
So I went to Verizon - well, at least for Alex' phone. He decided he wanted a Droid phone and by all accounts Verizon had the best deals and the best network, so after a little research and some pretty good references, that's where we went. I signed up for a single line contract with voice, unlimited texts (very necessary for young people today) and 2GB of data for a little less than I was paying AT&T for two lines on a family plan.
And then, because my personal cell phone requirements are SO minimal, I went to US Cellular, bought a basic phone for $20.00 and signed up for a $10.00/month + $0.10/minute prepaid plan (no text, no data) to cover my needs. When I got it home I discovered I have no service at my house (even with AT&T I had one bar most of the time) but it seems to be OK everywhere else I am likely to travel, so I guess I'll keep it.
Last night I deleted all of the contacts and personal information in my old phone in preparation for recycling it and as I did, for a brief moment, I had a feeling of not regret exactly, but sadness. My relationship with AT&T lasted longer than most of my marriages so even though it wasn't always happy there was a certain comfort in the longevity, and I am sad to see it end.
So farewell, AT&T - we had our ups and downs but now it's time to move on. I know you'll do fine without me, and I'm sure as time goes by I'll forget the bad times and remember the good. Who knows, maybe some day down the road we'll hook up again. Until then, I wish you fair winds and following seas - in today's market you'll need all the help you can get!